Cultural impact of ‘Black Panther’



Opinion columnist Cristian Ortiz discusses the commercial success and cultural impact of the new Marvel Studios film “Black Panther.”

CRISTIAN ORTIZ, Opinion Columnist

For me to say that “Black Panther” is doing an amazing job in box offices around the world would be a gross understatement.

According to, as of February 25, 2018, the latest Marvel Studios film has made an estimated $400 million domestically and $700 million worldwide off of a $200 million budget.

If you don’t really understand commerce in the film industry, let me just say that it’s succeeding in grand ways, making a ton of money and breaking a lot of records while doing so.

Not only is the film making a huge profit for Marvel Studios, but it is also currently the center of a lot of much-needed progress for diversity in the entertainment industry. Best of all, it’s also moving people to do things like donate tickets or even buy out full theaters for underprivileged kids who might not have been able to watch the film on the opening weekend.

“Black Panther” is directed by Ryan Coogler and it is written by both Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. Coogler is also known for his other two well-received films: “Fruitvale Station” and the highly successful “Creed,” which also turned in huge profits and was praised by audiences.

I believe that there are a couple of reasons for the film’s vast, rising and largely unexpected success.

Not only is it simply one of the best and well-crafted films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to Coogler’s ingenious direction and his beautiful passion for storytelling, but there is a lovely theme of progress that is threaded throughout every aspect of the film.

Not only were there amazing, very talented and diverse creatives behind the production and the creation of the film, but “Black Panther” also marks the most diverse cast of any Marvel Studios film produced to date.

The story itself also heavily involves strong, intelligent black women who are leaders in Wakanda’s military force and tech departments. In fact, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira’s performances were some of my favorites in the film.

All of these things are very important. They play a pretty big role in helping the world move forward towards more inclusion and equality.

I recently saw a video of Jordan Peele (director of Best Picture nominee “Get Out”) speaking to UCLA students that black people are making some of the best stuff right now. I totally agree with him. And the success of these films prove that.

This year has been very progressive in many aspects for the film industry, with some female directors like Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) and Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”) making highly successful films that have been both commerically successful and loved by audiences.

Ryan Coogler is no exception when it comes to progress for the entertainment industry. He and Jordan Peele recently showed Hollywood and the world that black directors are more than capable, and the current box office records are nothing to them but a stepping stone to further pursue their art and help better the world with their stories.

Films like “Black Panther” have helped open the world’s eyes and showed us that there is an uprising — a new creative renaissance for film and the arts.

That’s why I love art mediums like film and literature. They revolve around stories, and if you think about it, everything revolves around stories.

Ryan Coogler and his film “Black Panther” show us that we need to listen to everyone’s stories because they impact the world in grand ways. Stories like these impact culture.

So, let’s embrace these stories, instead of ignoring them.