There's no doubt that Black Panther has left a huge impact on its viewers (for proof, look no further than the fact that one man chose the film as the backdrop for his marriage proposal). But now, there are hard numbers to prove just how important the film is.
According to CNN, Black Panther broke more than one record at the box office, bringing in an estimated $192 million in North America this weekend. The outlet adds that it now holds the title of the largest opening for a black director (Ryan Coogler); previously, that record belonged to F. Gary Gray for The Fate of the Furious.
Additionally, Black Panther officially holds the record for the largest February opening — a victory that previously belonged to another superhero film, Deadpool.
These box office figures are just the latest piece of evidence that audiences want to see inclusive films. Last spring, Get Outbecame the highest-grossing debut for a feature-length film that's based on an original screenplay — a title that had been clutched for nearly two decades by The Blair Witch Project. Prior to that, Hidden Figures became the highest grossing Oscar nominee of 2017, while a film like Ghost in the Shell (which was accused of blatant whitewashing) flopped at the box office.
And when it comes to superheroes, the demand is clear: Audiences want to see stories that resonate with them. That's why Wonder Woman — a superhero film that puts women front and center — quickly became the bestselling opening for a film directed by a woman when it debuted last June.
The bottom line? Representation matters, and it's crucial for people of all identities to be able to see themselves portrayed as heroes on the big screen. So what are you waiting for? If you haven't seen Black Panther yet, go out there and buy a ticket for yourself — the numbers prove that you won't regret it.
Related: Danai Gurira Appreciates The Authenticity Of African Culture In "Black Panther"