'Black Panther', which follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returning home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to become king, roared into cinemas across the continent this past weekend and, in doing so, lit up the box office.
Cinemas across the continent played host to guests dressing up, dancing and singing as the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe played out with a distinctly celebratory African story.
The film, which has become a cultural phenomenon both at home and across the globe, took in over R16.8 million at the South African Box Office with nearly 200k attendances for the 3-day opening weekend 16-18 February.
This debut ranks as the third biggest industry opening weekend ever in South Africa (and the second biggest industry opening weekend ever, excluding previews) as well as the biggest opening for a Marvel Studios film ever in South Africa. In addition, 'Black Panther' scored the highest Saturday Box Office of all time in South Africa, with takings of over R6.9 million on 17 February.
Elsewhere on the continent, 'Black Panther' has become the biggest industry opening weekend of all time in both East and West Africa, with the film continually trending on social media in the run-up to the release and over the weekend.
This past Friday, Johannesburg played host to the Official South African Premiere of 'Black Panther', and welcomed Lupita Nypong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), local veteran actors Dr. John Kani (King T-Chaka) and Connie Chiume (Mining Tribe Elder) from the film, as well as South African personalities and celebrities taking to the blue carpet.
The 700 guests were treated to a special recorded message from Director Ryan Coogler and Black Panther/T-Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman.
Danai Gurira, who turned 40 just two days before, was serenaded by the packed auditorium as they sang Happy Birthday in Wakanda’s official language, isiXhosa. Local artist Loyiso Mkize also presented his specially-commissioned artwork on the night, entirely inspired by Black Panther.