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Posted: February 21, 2018

Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Marvel's "Black Panther" Has Record Breaking Opening Weekend

By Elizabeth Vale, Rare.us

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.”

>> See the tweet here

“Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.”

>> ‘Black Panther’ raking in the dough; here’s the records the blockbuster has smashed

The film has earned rave reviews from fans and critics alike, receiving a 97 percent "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregate site.

>> On Rare.us: After the Obamas’ official portraits were unveiled, people had a lot to say

The movie grossed $201 million at the box office over the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news 

Other high-profile Democrats to send shoutouts to the film include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who both posted tweets about the movie.

>> On Rare.us: Barack Obama issues statement on Florida school shooting: 'We are not powerless'

“Outside City of Refuge with @HollywoodLadyj from the film 'Black Panther'! Congratulations Janeshia!” Waters posted along with a picture of herself and the film’s stuntwoman, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard.

>> See the tweet here

Warren posted a picture of her and her family attending the film, captioning it, “#BlackPanther Rocks!”

>> See the tweet here


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In this May 12, 2017, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama smiles while speaking at the Partnership for a Healthier American 2017 Healthier Future Summit in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

These are the records 'Black Panther' has smashed so far

“Black Panther” has taken theaters by storm, breaking box office goals. 

Over the Presidents Day weekend, the Marvel flick made a whopping $242 million, much more than the $150 million predicted

>> Read more trending news 

That wasn’t the only success the film saw. It also made history for Marvel, on social media and beyond.

Here’s a list of records the flick has broken. 

Biggest February opening weekend

“Deadpool” previously held the record, raking in $132 million over a Friday to Sunday weekend, according to The Numbers, a site that keeps data on films. “Black Panther” scored a $202-million weekend for its Friday-Sunday opening.

>> Related: ‘Black Panther’: Five things to know about the movie’s ties to metro Atlanta

Biggest long holiday opening weekend

“Black Panther” brought in $242 million over the four-day weekend. That’s ahead of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which made $200 million during it’s Wednesday to Sunday debut, the Numbers said. It also surpasses “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Spider-Man 2,” which both had $180 million six-day Independence Day weekend premieres.

Biggest domestic opening for a black director

This is Ryan Coogler’s third film, behind “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station.” He’s inching closer to F. Gary Gray top selling film “Fate of the Furious,” which earned more than $1 billion worldwideThe Numbers recorded. 

“Black Panther” is also the biggest global debut for a predominantly black cast. “Straight Outta Compton” previously held the record with $66.3 million, according to BuzzFeed.

>> Related: Atlanta airport nonstop flights to Wakanda from Black Panther

5th biggest Friday to Sunday opening weekend of all time

Here’s a quick overview of the top five, according to The Numbers:

  1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - $284 million 
  2. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” - $220 million
  3. “Jurassic World” - $208 million
  4. “The Avengers” - $207 million
  5. “Black Panther” - $202 million

Most tweeted about film in 2018

It’s garnered more than five million tweets, according to Variety, and inspired several hashtags, including #BlackPantherChallenge#WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe and #WakandaForever. And if you type “#BlackPanther” a Black Panther mask appears. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” took second and third place. 

Atlanta airport offers nonstop flights to Kingdom of Wakanda

“Black Panther” fans rejoice: The world’s busiest airport is officially offering nonstop flights to the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda. Sort of.

>> Read more trending news 

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport shared a photo of a terminal showing a 7:30 p.m. departure time to the hidden city on Twitter Monday, following a holiday weekend that brought in $235 million for the film.

The person behind the airport’s Twitter account had answers to all the essential questions.

According to the state Department of Economic Development, 3,100 people working in Georgia’s booming film industry were employed during the shoot, which started in August 2016 and wrapped up in November 2017.

“We’re incredibly proud that Atlanta has such an important role in the film industry,” Reese McCranie, Hartsfield-Jackson’s director of policy and communications, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McCranie said the airport’s social media team, which he oversees, came up with the idea during a Monday meeting.

Related: ‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Since its posting, the playful image shared on the airport’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts has reached hundreds of thousands of people.

“We love keeping our customers engaged,” McCraine said. “And it’s important for us to be part of the cultural conversation.”

Unfortunately, the current flight departing from Gate T3 isn’t headed to the Kingdom of Wakanda. But, McCraine said, “we are certainly looking to explore direct service connection. In the meantime, we hope everyone gets to enjoy the movie.”

As for Wakanda, the beauty and wonder of the fictional country was inspired by Africa itself. Before shooting the film, director Ryan Coogler explored the mountainscape of the tiny nation of Lesotho.

Related: 5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler

According to The Washington Post, Wakanda is actually farther north, along the shores of Lake Victoria. “The country is rendered as a Pan-African pastiche; viewers of Black Panther can point to Ghanaian fabrics and Zulu headdresses, Ethiopian tribal body markings and a prominent Bantu tongue,” the Post reported.

The fictional country was also inspired by several African landmarks, including South Africa’s Three Rondavels (or Three Sisters) and the canyon Orbi Gorge.

‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Moviegoers have been flocking to theaters this weekend to see Black Panther, shattering records with $192 million for the three-day weekend and a possible gross of $218 million for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

>> Read more trending news

The film by Marvel and Disney clinched the fifth-largest domestic opening of all time, Variety reported. With estimates of $169 million from international markets, the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman and was directed by Ryan Coogler, has an estimated global debut grossing more than $361 million through Sunday, Variety reported.

>> 2 kids dressed as ‘tall man’ unable to gain admission to ‘Black Panther’

“Black Panther” is unprecedented among movies since it features a nearly all-black cast in a big-budget movie, according to the Reporter. It also earned a 97 rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The movie also broke the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, cruising past the $152 million set in 2016 by “Deadpool,” Variety reported.

5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler

Marvel’s “Black Panther” is already one of the highest-rated movies from the franchise.

With high praise from critics, the film is on track to set box office records. It’s only the third movie from director and screen writer Ryan Coogler.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are five things to know about the filmmaker behind the blockbuster:

He’s only 31 years old.

Coogler was born on May 23, 1986, in Oakland, California, and grew up reading about superheroes who looked nothing like him. 

“As I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me, and not just one that was on the sidelines,” Coogler told NPR. “And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, ‘Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?’ And he was like, ‘Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.’”

It was “Black Panther.” 

A teacher inspired Coogler to become a screenwriter.

While on a football scholarship at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, Coogler took a creative writing class.

According to Filmmaker Magazine, Coogler was given an assignment to write about a personal experience, so he wrote about the time his father almost bled to death in his arms.

Later, the professor called him into his office and asked what Coogler wanted to do with his life.

“Play ball, become a doctor and be a positive influence in my community,” he replied.

Related: 5 ways ‘Black Panther’ celebrates and elevates black women

Coogler told the magazine he remembers her saying, “I think you should become a screenwriter. You can reach more people.” He thought she was crazy. “But I was always thinking about stories, so maybe there was something to it.”

His previous feature films are both critically acclaimed.

Coogler’s first feature film, “Fruitvale Station,” which stars Michael B. Jordan, was produced in partnership with Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker.

Coogler told Filmmaker Magazine in 2012 that the  film was especially close to his heart. It tells the true story of Oscar Grant, an unarmed man shot in the back by a police officer in Oakland, California.

The 2013 film holds a high 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won multiple critics awards between 2013 and 2014.

Related:  Michael B. Jordan reveals what he had to give up for ‘Black Panther’

Coogler’s second feature film, “Creed,” holds a 95 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics rating and earned numerous awards following its 2015 release. His memories of watching “Rocky” movies with his father inspired him to write the film.

All three of Coogler’s feature films star Michael B. Jordan.

“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and “Black Panther” all star Jordan. According to Variety, Jordan will star in a fourth Coogler film, titled “Wrong Answer.”

The fourth project will be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, also the writer for the new “Black Panther” series, and produced by Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B. The film is based on a group of Atlanta high school teachers who participated in the Atlanta Public Schools standardized test cheating scandal in 2006. 

Related: Brad Pitt, Michael B. Jordan sign on to Atlanta school cheating scandal movie

He traveled to Africa to research “Black Panther.”

"What does it mean to be African?" Coogler asked himself. “It was a question I couldn’t answer,” he told NPR.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Coogler said he wanted to make sure Wakanda, the fictional setting of the film, didn’t feel like it was a city. It needed to feel like a country.

The fictional country was also inspired by several African landmarks, including South Africa’s Three Rondavels (or Three Sisters) and the canyon Orbi Gorge.

Related: Photos: ‘Black Panther’ world premiere

“As many pictures of it as you've seen," he added, "there's nothing a camera can do for (you that) your eyes do, or being a person of African descent, what your body does when you touch down there. It's a feeling I couldn't put into words, but I tried to put it into the movie,” he told the LA Times.

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