The significance of Marvel's 'Black Panther' to communities of color

The first set of estimates are in. Disney's 'Black Panther' is on the way toward an historic weekend. By Monday morning, this super hero movie could bring in $200 million to $205 million over the first four days in theaters. The movie is expected to be a box-office smash and for African Americans and and other communities of color, a film like this is long overdue. 

The hype is real and they have the receipts prove it. 24 hours after it premiered, 'The Black Panther' movie has already broken February records, bringing more than $25 million on opening night. 

"'Black Panther' is one of my favorite characters and I've been looking into the comics," said movie goer Crystal Martin of San Francisco. %INLINE%

"It's a day of joy, a day of celebration. Just pure excitement," said Lauren Bartlett who came out from Pomona to see the film at Oakland Jack London Square's Regal Cinemas. 

Besides setting records at the box office, it's also breaking barriers. It's the first time Marvel and Hollywood in general has had a predominantly African American cast in a big budget movie, led by Oakland's own Ryan Coogler as the director. 

"It really captures the sprit of African people and that just felt really good," said Tamara Haynes of African American Female Excellence.  

For years it's been said in Hollywood that blockbuster movies could only do well with a majority white cast. The diversity crisis came to a head in 2016 with the #OscarsSoWhite protest. So to see the success of this film means a lot to communities of color. 

"It means that we're getting to see something completely different from what we're used to seeing. Something extremely positive," Haynes said. 

"When you have a film that almost the entire cast looks like you. You feel proud, you feel excited," Bartlett said.

The movie isn't only about a superhero, but it also deals with issues of being of African descent. The hope is Hollywood finally take notice, seeing movies with a focus on people of color can work and bring in major money. 

"It's not everyday that you see this many African Americans in a movie. It's like such a different experience for us," said Aliyah Stubblefield of San Pablo. 

"It's about time. What is it, 2018 and we're still kind of praising  movies that are like this where it's not normalized yet?" Martin said.  

There's also word of a possible sequel and the hope is Oakland's own Ryan Coogler will be back leading the way.