There isn’t much the MCU didn’t accomplish in 2018, what with Avengers: Infinity War being only the fourth motion picture ever to conquer the elusive $2 billion plateau and Black Panther becoming the first African-American feature to earn more than $1 billion. Not to mention, the highest grossing film franchise of all-time also spent a remarkable twenty weeks inside the ticket booth top ten – which, sadly, came to an end just before Ant-Man and the Wasp could make it into theaters.
Nonetheless, the Peyton Reed-directed movie did kickoff the first full weekend of July in grand style – to the tune of $80 million, mind you. So I’m assuming Feige and co. weren’t too broken up about the streak ending. However, the driving force behind the MCU may take issue with Sean Combs aka P.Diddy’s criticism of T’Challa’s solo feature, in which the seven-time platinum artist dubbed Black Panther a “cruel experiment.”
During an interview with Variety, Combs commented on the first Marvel tentpole with a primarily African-American cast and, suffice it to say, he wasn’t too impressed.
“Black Panther was a cruel experiment because we live in 2018 and it’s the first time that the film industry gave us a fair playing field on a worldwide blockbuster, and the hundreds of millions it takes to make it.”
Although he went on to acknowledge the level of significance Black Panther went on to obtain – $700 million domestically and $1.34 billion globally – Diddy extrapolated his remark on the music industry – “there’s no black CEO of a major record company” – to reflect the entertainment industry as a whole.
“For all the billions of dollars that these black executives have been able to make them, (there’s still hesitation) to put them in the top-level positions. They’ll go and they’ll recruit cats from overseas. It makes sense to give (executives of color) a chance and embrace the evolution, instead of it being that we can only make it to president, senior VP. There’s no black CEO of a major record company. That’s just as bad as the fact that there are no (black) majority owners in the NFL. That’s what really motivates me.”
Perched atop the MCU domestic chart, Black Panther is also the highest grossing superhero movie of all-time stateside. While it was undoubtedly, as Combs alluded to, a step in the right direction, given the emergence of troubling statistics like only four black female directors worked across the top 1,100 movies from 2007 – 2017, things certainly still need to change.