Ryan Coogler, who directed Black Panther and co-wrote the script, is struggling to grasp words at this moment.
His film, starring a predominantly black cast about characters in a fictional African nation, has just dominated the weekend box office with a record $218 million in the U.S. Taking a moment to reflect, the filmmaker sat down to pen a moving letter to those who supported the film.
“Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent,” Coogler wrote. “Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong.”
Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa, who assumes the throne of Wakanda, the most highly advanced nation on the globe, after his father’s death. Surrounded by the Dora Milaje, an all-female military force, he must protect his home from threats both new and old.
“It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters often moved me and my wife to tears,” Coogler wrote.
From “the press who wrote about the film” to “the people who bought out theaters” to “the young ones” who saw the film, Coogler thanked them “for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.”
Read the full letter below.
Many members of the Marvel Studios family shared in this celebration.
“Congratulations @marvelstudios, #RyanCoogler, and the entire cast & crew on the soaring success of Black Panther!” Stan Lee, who created the comic book character of Black Panther with Jack Kirby, tweeted. “What a thrill it is to be able to witness all the records this dynamic, thoughtful movie is smashing.”
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger wrote, “The world has embraced Black Panther, which has obliterated expectations, broken records & shattered myths. Powerful storytelling that touches hearts, bridges cultures, opens minds. Grateful to @Marvelstudios, #RyanCoogler & the cast and crew.”
Black Panther is now playing in theaters.