Black Panther is already looking like it could be a massive hit when it comes out next month, but one man wants to be sure that the right audience is there to take it in, so he’s sending an entire Boys and Girls Club to the theater. Black Panther is the first superhero lead of the current generation who is also a person of color, and New Yorker Frederic Joseph wants to be sure that kids, primarily also of color, get a chance to see such a hero on the big screen. He started a Go Fund Me campaign to send 300 children to the theater, which has now raised three times its goal.
It only took five days for the campaign to raise $30,000 to send the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem to see Black Panther when it gets released next month, which I guess means those kids get all the popcorn they can eat. According to Today, this was, in large part, due to large donations made by Chelsea Clinton and J.J. Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath. However, Fredric Joseph has decided not to stop there and has now partnered with Go Fund Me for the Black Panther Challenge, which hopes to inspire people in other regions to run their own campaigns in order to get as many kids as possible across the country to see the film.
We saw with the release of Wonder Woman how important it can be for movie fans to see themselves represented on the big screen. Wonder Woman blew away all box office expectations when it was released and it stayed at the top of the box office for weeks, setting records for how little the box office dropped from week to week. Black Panther could certainly do for people of color what Wonder Woman did for women, and based on how the early ticket sales are going for the movie, it may be well on its way already. It’s great to see that so many kids in Harlem, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, will get to see Chadwick Boseman lead an amazing cast of actors and actresses in Black Panther. People obviously see the value in it, as shown by the overwhelming response to the Go Fund Me campaign. Hopefully, we’ll see people in other regions take up the Black Panther Challenge and run similar campaigns in their community.
The only problem now is that, since tickets have already gone on sale, any fundraising campaigns looking to buy tickets might have to wait a couple days. Black Panther set a pre-sale record for Marvel films in the first 24 that tickets went on sale. Even people who are in the movie couldn’t get tickets. So, while lots of kids are going to get their chance to see Black Panther, it may not be opening night.