Marvel’s superhero film ‘Black Panther’ has taken more than a billion US dollars (£794m) at cinemas worldwide.
It is the fifth movie based in Disney’s Marvel Universe to hit the milestone.
The film stars Chadwick Boseman as the crime-fighting ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya play key roles, with ‘The Hobbit’ star Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett Ross.
The film has been widely praised as game-changing, including by Michelle Obama, for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
Box office analyst Jeff Bock told the New York Times, “I think about it like a wall crumbling.
In terms of ‘Black Panther’, no studio can say again, ‘Oh, black movies don’t travel, overseas interest will be minimal.'”
Based on Disney’s estimate of ticket sales, the film passed the $1bn mark on the 26th day of its release.
Film information site IMDB says 32 movies have scored a box office billion, including 2012 James Bond offering Skyfall, the 2017 ‘Beauty And The Beast’ reboot starring Emma Watson, and modern children’s classic ‘Frozen’.
A Hero Among Heroes
Earlier this week, UK figures showed ‘Black Panther’ was out-selling fellow superhero outings ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor & Captain America’, after grossing £35.4m in three weeks.
Of the 18 Marvel films released to date, only two had made more money in the UK at a comparable stage – 2015’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ (£40.4m) and 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ (£40.3m).
Signs of the film’s success were good from the start – ‘Black Panther’ more than doubled the amount it was predicted to take in the US and Canada over its opening weekend.
Last month, director Mr Coogler wrote a heartfelt letter thanking fans for their support.
“I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment,” he wrote.
“Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong.
“Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.” Patty Jenkins, the director who smashed records herself with 2017’s Wonder Woman, shared her delight at Black Panther‘s “incredibly meaningful success”.