Coming out of an amazing weekend for black film, both Disney's A Wrinkle In Time and Marvel's Black Panther showed the performance power of cinema birthed from black minds. The Ava DuVernay-directed film brought in just over $33 million after its opening weekend, while Ryan Coogler's superhero saga recently topped the $1 billion mark in international box office receipts. Holding the top two box office positions, this accomplishment is a Hollywood first for movies with over $100 million budgets and black directors.
So why are these films being positioned against each other?
The historic win for both movies and the messages they convey supersede the competitive element of their box office stats. Not only were these films necessary for children and marginalized communities (women and people of color specifically), but with seasoned black directors at the helm of both blockbusters, the cinematic experience of Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time do not fall short of spectacular.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 8, 2018
It seems as though within the normal framework of a competitive element to movies' opening weekends, both of these very iconic and very necessary films are being pulled into the common horserace trend. We're here to say that that's not happening this time.
Don't do this Black Panther vs. A Wrinkle In Time thing. I implore you.
— Michael T Ford III (@MTFIII) March 10, 2018
every review I've read of A Wrinkle In Time compares it to Black Panther and that makes NO sense to me
— Wig Throwing Wakandan (@kdc) March 7, 2018
DuVernay's directorial experience continues to captivate audiences year after year. No one can forget the Oscar-nominated 2014 film, Selma, that told the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson, and the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery.
Then, of course, there's her announcement in 2015 that she'd be working with the Oprah Winfrey Network on its original series Queen Sugar, which was premiered in 2016. That same year, DuVernay brought us the Netflix documentary 13th, which explored race as it pertains to the justice system and mass incarceration.
Coogler's rise to the critically-acclaimed 'Black Panther' included some groundbreaking visual work as well. 2013's 'Fruitvale Station' starring Michael B. Jordan set off much-needed conversation on police brutality and the life of Oscar Grant. Following in 2015 was 'Creed', and in his earlier years, he worked on multiple shorts.
Any hint of competition between both of these game-changing black directors is undoubtedly friendly, as both DuVernay and Coogler have a very close relationship as friends. Their skills and status set a beautiful precedent for filmmakers coming after them.
With the media creating a narrative of rivalry, they both show loads of support for one another's project. Besides, with the growing success of both Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time, it's very clear who's laughing last, loudest and all the way to the bank.