Now that the Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther has ficially hit theaters, the film is swiftly proving to be the cultural phenomenon it was predicted to be.
Black Panther, which currently boasts a score 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, already broke an advance ticket sales record and will likely break even more records as the weekend progresses. Some estimates predict the film could bring in as much as $200 million over the weekend, which would break the record for the best pre-summer debut ever.
The record for biggest opening weekend (domestic) currently belongs to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with nearly $248 million.
Moviegoers showed up and showed out on Thursday (February 15), arriving to theaters in full cosplay or Wakanda-inspired attire.
A number celebrities have also stepped up to ensure that everyone is able to see the film. On Saturday (February 17), Kendrick Lamar and TDE will host a free screening Black Panther for children living in housing projects in Los Angeles.
Atlanta rapper T.I. and actress Octa Spencer have hosted or will host similar screenings in their hometowns.
Additionally, the #BlackPantherChallenge was created to raise funds for black students to view the film in cities across the nation.
Lastly, Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright dropped a few bars in honor this week’s opening, and for the culture.