Black Panther has drawn huge crowds and shattered box office records, since it premiered last weekend. The film, which features a black superhero and a predominantly black cast, is not your normal superhero flick.
However, the newest Marvel superhero has piqued the interest of moviegoers across racial and cultural lines. And, a lot of those moviegoers, owe their chance to view the new film to NFL and NBA athletes.
According to Natalie Weiner of Bleacher Report:
Black Panther is the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast, and one whose box office success quickly became a cause: The better it does, the more likely Hollywood studios will be forced to prioritize representing their audience onscreen. Serena Williams brought a group from Black Girls Code to see the movie. The Dallas Mavericks’ Harrison Barnes bought 150 tickets for kids in Dallas. The New Orleans Pelicans’ Rajon Rondo hosted a screening in Louisville.
But it’s NFL players—many of whom are back in their hometowns for the offseason—who’ve taken up the mantle en masse of bringing people to see the groundbreaking film. The Cowboys’ Kavon Frazier took 600 kids in Dallas. The Jaguars’ Jaelen Strong took 60 kids in his hometown of Philadelphia. The Buccaneers’ Clinton McDonald and retired player Arian Foster both sponsored screenings, and from the Chargers, Russell Okung and Jason Verrett brought even more families to theaters.
Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes took 150 kids to a Black Panther showing at a theater in Dallas.
This is the great moment when the kids discovered it was Harrison Barnes who made this magical night happen for them. Barnes paid for 150 kids to see the movie, Black Panther, tonight at the Studio Movie Grill in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/j0ODNxnYKq
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) February 20, 2018
On Monday, Black Panther became the most successful movie in the history of Monday, earning $40.16 million on President’s Day. Bringing the movie’s four-day holiday total to $241.9 million.