The weekend box office for March 9-11 has been a historic one for Black filmmakers. With “Black Panther” continuing to dominate in the no. 1 spot and “A Wrinkle In Time” debuting at no. 2, it marks the first time films by Black directors with $100 million-plus budgets have earned those spots.
Ryan Coolger-directed “Black Panther” has now surpassed the $1 billion mark worldwide, aided by earning $41.1 million this weekend. “A Wrinkle In Time,” directed by Ava DuVernay, opened with at $33.3 million.
For her part, DuVernay acknowledged the feat by retweeting a story about the historic moment. And while Twitterless Coogler hasn’t spoken publicly about it, he wrote a glowing letter about DuVernay in ESPN W Friday, March 9.
“[S]he infused the love she had for her father, and her mother who is still with us, into the beautiful film ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’” he wrote. “I watched closely from across the hall at Disney while working on ‘Black Panther’ as my big sister inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors.”
Online, many fans are celebrating the achievement, which follows controversy erupting over a Variety article which wondered if “Time” could overtake “Panther” in the Marvel-Disney film’s fourth week in theaters.
“Let’s celebrate the fact that the top two films in the country are from Black filmmakers helming $100M+ movies,” one journalist tweeted “A win for Ryan Coogler and @ava is a win for all of us. Inspired! #WrinkleInTime #BlackPanther.”
And others defended the Black-helmed flicks from headlines that framed the debut of “Time” as a box office “stumble.”