For years, James Cameron’s Titanic was the golden standard by which all American theatrical releases were judged, the magic money maker that no one would ever beat. Then, Cameron himself beat it, with Avatar, and a few years later Star Wars: The Force Awakens rocketed past both of those.
Now, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, having grossed around $661 million in its incredible box office run, has narrowly edged the ship-sinking epic out, cementing its place as the third highest-grossing US theatrical release of all time.
For Coogler and his team, who made an incredible, diverse film, it’s an amazing accomplishment, the capper to a string of broken records. And for the rest of the entertainment industry, it’s a huge wake-up call, proving that the interest for compelling heroes and heroines of color is more than just a trend; it’s literally the biggest thing happening. And while the established hierarchy of mostly white, mostly cis, mostly male entertainment and film industries might be slow to hear this message or give it the credence it deserves, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore.
As we tend to say in moments like this: Wakanda forever.