More “Black Panthers” and “Wonder Womans,” please.
That’s the message that,the top lobbyist for the exhibition industry, is hoping to convey to studios in the wake of the two superhero movies’ blockbuster success. Their massive box office hauls confirm something that Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, has been pushing for years. Diversity is good for business.
“Theater owners have been asking for more diversity in movies for a long time, and by diversity we mean diversity in casting and diversity in times of the year when movies are released,” said Fithian, who notes that “Black Panther” tops $700m with Record Breaking weekend.
“The traditional norm is that big movies only go in the summer and winter holiday,“‘Black Panther proves if you’re good, people will come out and see you any time of the year. It also shows that a movie with an all-black cast and a black director can break records. It’s not the race or the sex of the actors in a movie, it’s the quality of the movie that matters.”
There’s been a myth that movies starring women won’t appeal to teenage boys and that movies with black actors won’t appeal to overseas audiences. Films such as “Wonder Woman,” however, have been able to draw male and female ticket buyers in big numbers, while “Black Panther” has done an impressive $304 million . Theater owners hope that the grosses will embolden studios to bankroll more movies with diverse casts and to champion stories with female and black protagonists.
“We’d like to see this more and more and more. There should be a Latino superhero movie or an Asian superhero movie. The more you have different types of people in these movies, the more you appeal to different types of audiences.”
Black Panther,” a Marvel movie, is backed by Disney, which will offer up a female-led superhero movie with “Captain Marvel.” The studio is also showing its commitment to diversity with next month’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which is the first $100 million movie directed by a black woman (Ava DuVernay). However, Disney is at the heart of a major corporate deal that could limit the number of movies that make their way to theaters.
Wakanda also represents the powerful promise of black liberation dreamed by generations of African Americans. “We have for centuries sought to either find or create a promised land where we would be untroubled by the criminal horrors of our American existence,” Instagram of fans celebrating the ‘Black Panther’ movie.