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Why Black Panther’s box office success matters

Movies spotlighting people of color are kicking ass right now.

Early reviews indicate that Black Panther will be a major hit at the box office this year. There are many reasons for why that is. Marvel superhero films tend to do well, the film has an all-star cast, and more generally, people think it’s a good movie.

But there are socioeconomic facts that support the film’s cultural significance. When it comes to diversity, Hollywood has a long way to go, especially if it wants to appeal to the evolving demographic profile of the United States. That’s the major theme of a series of reports authored by UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies.

The 2017 edition of the report suggests there is a strong business incentive for Hollywood to correct its diversity issue. It also provides evidence indicating that minority audiences are more avid media consumers than the rest of the country. And our current best census estimates indicate that the American population will become majority-minority in a matter of decades.

As Darnell Hunt, UCLA’s dean of social sciences and author of the Hollywood Diversity Report, wrote:

Black Panther is like the perfect storm. It has everything going for it in the sense that it’s a major tent-pole film based around a Marvel character, and superhero movies are in now. … From a black perspective in terms of black culture, it is doing something that we rarely see, centering black themes, black issues in a major film with a major budget.

Watch the video above to learn more about what’s driving all the excitement behind the release of Black Panther.

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