By The Numbers: “Black Panther”‘s Audience Breakdown

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in 'Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

Shuri (Letitia Wright) in ‘Black Panther, 2018 (ESPN FiveThirtyEight)

As you no doubt have heard by now (and if you haven’t, where are you?!), “Black Panther” is breaking records left and right: It has the second-highest box office gross in its first four days, and is the highest-grossing movie to open over President’s Day weekend (among other records).

One thing that’s happened with the release of the movie is that the audience makeup is slightly different than the usual. Here’s the breakdown!

First, let’s look at race:

Typical Superhero Movie (2016 Average):

  • African-American: 15%
  • Caucasian: 52%
  • Hispanic: 21%

“Black Panther:”

  • African-American: 37%
  • Caucasian: 35%
  • Hispanic: 18%

For those of you who need a visual:

'Black Panther' Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

‘Black Panther’ Audience Make-Up by Demographic (Quartz)

Check that out!! The percentage of African-Americans seeing “Blank Panther” was more than double that of the average superhero movie.

The Typical Superhero numbers were pulled from a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Theatrical Market Statistics report from 2016. “Black Panther” numbers came from audience tracking platform comScore.


Typical Superhero Movie’s Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 60-65%
  • Female: 35-40%

“Black Panther” Opening Weekend:

  • Male: 55%
  • Female: 45%

This is big too! More women wanted to see “Black Panther” on opening weekend than the usual superhero fare. One explanation is that the movie positions many strong, dynamic female characters front and center: Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira).

There you have it, folks: Hard data on the fact that representation matters in media. If you represent inclusivity in your movie, you’ll give a more inclusive audience. And that will translate to bigger bank.


“Black Panther” Has the Biggest President’s Day Box Office with $40.2M

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

The highly-anticipated Marvel movie “Black Panther” opened last Thursday night, and has already broken records.

“Black Panther” made $40.2M on President’s Day, making it the biggest Monday ever. The record was previously held by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2016, which made $40.1M.

“Black Panther” also made the second-most amount of money in its first four days of opening with $241.6M. The movie now holds the record for the biggest President’s Day weekend opening, “Deadpool” was the previous recordholder, making $152M in 2016. The only movie that made more within its first four days was (you guessed it) “The Force Awakens, which made $288.1M.

Among movie theater chain AMC, the movie became the highest-grossing title in the chain’s history for 80 theaters, which accounts for over 10% of the chain’s theaters. The movie opened in 661 theaters.

Worldwide, “Black Panther” made $426.6M. The movie has yet to open in China, Japan and Russia.


#ThrowbackThursday: Alice Dunnigan, Date Unknown

Alice Dunnigan (Columbia Journalism Review Archive)

Alice Dunnigan (Columbia Journalism Review Archive)

Alice Dunnigan should be more well-known. This is not editorializing, this is just a fact. As a journalist WOC, Dunnigan pioneered many firsts. She was the first African-American woman to have press access to the White House, first African-American female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries. Dunnigan was also the first African-American woman to travel with a presidential candidate, when she traveled with Harry S. Truman during the 1948 presidential campaign.

Dunnigan paved the way for other African-American female journalists, among them Gwen Ifill, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Oprah Winfrey.

#ThrowbackThursday: Eartha Kitt as Catwoman in “Batman,” 1967

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman (Pinterest)

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman (Pinterest)

Many people know Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the 1960s TV series “Batman,” but there was a second Catwoman as well! Actress and singer Eartha Kitt took over the role in 1967. Kitt was already famous by this time, having danced with the Katherine Dunham Company, recorded several songs and had been acting for many years.

Kitt played Catwoman from 1967 to 1968. Not bad for a woman Orson Welles called “the most exciting woman on Earth.”

“Black Panther” Sets Fandango Record for Marvel Pre-Sales

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Seriously, who *isn’t* eagerly awaiting “Black Panther” to drop?! If you know anyone that’s not, tell them to get right!!

The latest proof comes from ticket website Fandango, which opened ticket sales to the latest entry to Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) a week ago. Twenty-four hours later, “Black Panther” had set a new record for advance ticket pre-sales for a Marvel movie. Sadly, no numbers were given to back up this claim (because you know I’d love to see them!).

The film is clearly benefitting from broader awareness: Sales began after a national TV spot aired during the College Football Playoff National Championship. A recent Fandango survey of 8K moviegoers revealed that “Black Panther” is the second-most anticipated film of the year. It ranks below another MCU entry “Avengers: Infinity War.” Many of the “Black Panther” characters will appear in “Infinity War.” Titular star Chadwick Boseman was also voted the “most anticipated comic book hero in a standalone movie.”

This pre-sale record may or may not indicate how well “Black Panther” will do when it opens next month. According to entertainment industry trade “Deadline,” estimates not affiliated with the movie are predicting an opening weekend take of $80-85M, and maybe scaling up to $100M. But then “Captain America: Civil War” (the previous Fandango pre-sales record holder for the MCU) made $179M in its opening weekend, and went out to gross $1.15B (!) around the world.

“Black Panther” opens on Feb. 16, 2018, and stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, and Angela Bassett.

#ThrowbackThursday: Madame C.J. Walker, America’s First Female Millionaire

Madame C.J. Walker (Biography)

Madame C.J. Walker (Biography)

If you don’t know who Madame C.J. Walker is, get on that! The former Sarah Breedlove worked as a laundress and a singer before developing her own line of hair care products.  Walker eventually extended her product line into a beauty school and trained hairdressers in her products and specific methods. Through Walker’s entrepreneurship, she taught other black women how to run their own businesses and become financially independent.

By the time Madame C.J. Walker died at age 51, she’d become the first female millionaire, and a self-made one at that. Her net worth at the time of her death in 1919 was $600,000. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $8,757,479.29 in November 2017 money.

Oprah Winfrey Is the First Black Woman to Receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award

Oprah Winfrey at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Variety)

75th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS — Pictured: Oprah Winfrey, Winner, Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

We all know that Oprah is a supreme being, right? Is there anything she can’t do? Seemingly not, especially when it comes to her role throughout the decades in entertainment. And now she has the one of the highest honors.

Last night, Winfrey was awarded the Cecil DeMille Award. Named after the famed director, the award recognizes individuals in the entertainment industry who’ve, well, achieved a lot within their lifetime (obviously).

Winfrey is the African-American woman to receive the award. This award has been presented since 1952.

Oprah then gifted us all with an acceptance speech to end all acceptance speeches. She started out speaking on what the award personally meant to her (#representationmatters), tied in into history, and spoke on the fact that the tide is finally turning against sexual harassment, in every industry.

Her speech was so good that some are calling for her to run for president (though not everyone feels this way).

Congratulations to Oprah! Only one question: why didn’t she receive this award sooner?!?!?!