North Texas

‘Black Panther’ Draws Crowds and Hope Opening Weekend

On its official opening day in North Texas, 'Black Panther' was booked back-to-back at theaters all over DFW, and tickets were still scarce.

It's the first Marvel film to feature a black protagonist and is expected to rake in $175 million opening weekend.

Despite weekday obligations, theaters were full most of Friday. Some moviegoers came in traditional African attire, saying movie's also a celebration of heritage.

"Some people are saying it's extra, and I'm just going to be extra today. I can't wait to see the movie," said Leanna Davis.

Father and son Iguan Rodgers and Iguan Rodgers also dressed the part.

"They were saying, 'Let's go out, let's celebrate our awareness.' And looking at the costumes that they had in the movie, I think we kind of fit right in with everything," said Iguan Rodgers Sr.

His son said the movie was also a glimpse at how films by African-American filmmakers have the opportunity to shine on the big screen.

"I say if other black directors are out there that are trying to make a cultural background picture that's not about us being gang-bangers or thugs like that, I would say, yes, definitely make the movies," said Iguan Rodgers Jr.

Which is why James Hawthorne, with Arlington's Frame4Frame Festival, said this film is spurring so much excitement within the industry.

"This is just inspirational for everybody. I know some black film-makers who are just buzzing about this all over their social media sites and wanting to see it for a whole variety of reasons," Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne hopes it will not only launch today's film-makers to success but also inspire children that they, too, can succeed on camera or behind it.

"I think what it means to kids like me that have aspirations to one day act in a film or direct a movie or do something with a film project of that nature, just to see that on the screen is incredible," Hawthorne said.

If 'Black Panther' reaches estimated ticket sales, it will be the seventh-highest grossing opening weekend.

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