As you might have heard, Black Panther is a massive, record-breaking box office sensation.
Through Monday, the Marvel Studios release has earned $242.2 million domestically, the second-best four-day return ever for a feature film, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Internationally, Black Panther is also a giant blockbuster, earning $184.6 million through Monday — and that's before the film has premiered in China, Japan, and Russia, three of the biggest markets in the world.
The film has become a watershed for movies starring black actors, dismantling the myth in Hollywood that they aren't financially successful internationally. It is also an unprecedented hit for a film set in Africa — in Black Panther's case, the fictional nation of Wakanda, but still emphatically set within the continent.
So it's perhaps not that surprising that Black Panther also broke several box office records in Africa. Disney confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the film earned the third-biggest opening weekend in South Africa (behind 2015's Furious 7 and 2017's The Fate of the Furious), and set new opening weekend records in the film distribution territories of West Africa and East Africa (each consisting of several countries).
The amounts of those records are fractions of what Black Panther has earned elsewhere in the world: In South Africa, it was $1.4 million; in West Africa, roughly $400,000, and in East Africa, roughly $300,000.
Those figures indicate both how small and how new of a market sub-Saharan Africa remains for Hollywood features. For example, in Nigeria, which features a robust filmmaking industry known as Nollywood, many movies historically premiered either on television or direct to home video, bypassing theatrical distribution entirely.
Much like Black Panther's impact elsewhere, however, the film has created a new model for how Hollywood could roll out its feature films in major African markets — and smaller ones, too.
Black Panther enjoyed a rare red carpet premiere in South Africa, attended by several of the film's stars, and actor Lupita Nyong'o's father, Gov. Anyang’ Nyong’o, arranged for special private and public screenings in her hometown of Kisumu, Kenya, on Feb. 13.
"This film is of importance to us as black people," Sadra Orwa, a 21-year-old student studying in Kisumu, told BuzzFeed News at the event. "It’s a challenge to the whole world that no matter where you come from or what your color is, you can do the same thing as the next person. Maybe even better.”
Additional reporting by Tamerra Griffin.
Adam B. Vary is a senior film reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Adam B. Vary at email@example.com.
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