Ticket prices hit an all-time high in 2017 at an average rate of $8.95, much too high for some children, especially those in lower income areas, to attend movie in the theaters at all. But this weekend, celebrities have made sure that this won’t be the case for over 30,000 children.
Thus far, $400,000 has been raised through GoFundMe accounts and private donations to send children to the latest Marvel movie, “Black Panther.” On Twitter, the initiative has been going around as the #BlackPantherChallenge.
The Black Panther Challenge was started by marketing professional and media representation advocate Fredrick Joseph. According to an article Joseph wrote for the Huffington Post entitled, “Why I’m Raising Money for Black Kids to See Black Panther,” he started the campaign to “[ensure] that our children get to see themselves as heroes too.”
The challenge exploded into a national initiative. Octavia Spencer, an Oscar-winning actress, promised to buy out a theater in Mississippi “to ensure all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero.” Many other celebrities, including J.J Abrams, Chelsea Clinton, Viola Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Jemele Hill, and more have donated to the cause or agreed to buy out showings.
This campaign comes alongside the massive media hype over the Feb. 16 release of Black Panther to movie theaters. It is the first Marvel movie, and possibly the first movie ever, to have a majority black cast, Afrocentric storyline, and black director. Many have praised the film as a smashing end to well-established stereotypes and an exciting beginning to a new kind of movie empire.
The film is expected to make $250 million worldwide this week and Fandango reported it to be the fourth largest pre-seller of all time, only preceded by the Star Wars movies. The movie has received the largest merchandise line ever for a non-sequel Marvel movie.
Black Panther comes at a time where movie theaters are declining in an world of Amazon Prime and Netflix, yet also a time of risk-taking in the film world. Previously, Marvel has said that films with an woman superhero star, all-black cast, or any other not-so-mainstream character would not do well worldwide. Enter Wonder Woman, Deadpool, and Black Panther — already enormous hollywood hits. Wonder Woman alone made over $800 million in the box office.
“One by one, these unwritten Hollywood rules about what audiences supposedly will and will not support are falling by the wayside,” said Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, an entertainment research firm.
“Black Panther” is more than just a movie. It’s a movement,” reported CNN.
Picture source: https://patch.com/maryland/baltimore/4-black-panther-challenge-campaigns-benefit-baltimore-students