Black History in the Making: ‘Black Panther’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Dominate the Box Office

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Jessica Guo, HOWM Editor

Two wildly different films, two completely different premises. Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time are two groundbreaking films with the misfortune of opening relatively close to each other. Black Panther is a movie adaptation based on the Marvel character of the same name, and it depicts conflicts in the prosperous African nation of Wakanda. A Wrinkle in Time adapts the acclaimed and identically titled novel, in which the protagonist Meg is sent on a quest to find her missing scientist father. Black Panther has clearly dominated, getting endless rave reviews and becoming the top-grossing superhero film ever in the United States. On the other hand, A Wrinkle in Time has received a solid opening and mixed reviews, although that might seem disappointing in comparison to the cultural phenomenon that Black Panther has become.

Nonetheless, the two films are the clear top two in the box office, as of last weekend. While two major blockbuster films by major production companies have taken up the first two spots before, this is a historical breakthrough for black directors. The dominance of these two films marks the first time that films by black directors with $100 million plus budgets have ever placed in the first two box office spots. Showcasing the demand for diversity and representation in the movie industry, these two films have achieved a feat that has never occurred before.

Additionally, these two films have made a point to highlight black pride and diversity. The story of Black Panther dives into significant issues regarding race, as well as devoting time to cultural heterogeneity among African people, and the strengths of black women, who play roles as queens, scientists and warriors. Notably, Wakandan princess Shuri is playful and clever, creating advanced and innovative technological marvels. The importance of strong female roles is also addressed in A Wrinkle in Time, which features the character of Meg Murry, a crafty and intelligent girl who is played by Storm Reid. Director Ava DuVernay sought a “cast that reflects the real world’, and the film thus features performances from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling.

Both of these black directors have accomplished a historical feat with their combined success. Congratulations to Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay for their achievements in film!