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‘The Woman King’ director explains how ‘Black Panther’ changed the game

The MCU's reach extends far beyond the superhero genre.

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via Sony/Marvel Studios

The number one movie at the domestic box office is officially Gina Prince-Blythewood’s The Woman King, which handily topped the charts with a higher-than-expected opening weekend of $19 million.

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While historical epics have proven to be very hit-or-miss over the last decade, a stellar A+ CinemaScore, a Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94 percent, and a user average of 99 percent has seen the hard-hitting actioner ride a wave of buzz and momentum all the way to the summit of cinema.

Having already proven her chops when it comes to helming hard-hitting genre films headlined by ass-kicking women with Netflix smash hit The Old Guard, Prince-Blythewood has outdone herself by The Woman King, with Viola Davis commanding every inch of the screen with a ferocious performance that’s every bit as good as you’d expect from one of the best in the business.

The filmmaker isn’t getting carried away with her success, though, and made sure to note during an interview with Collider that her movie may not have existed in its current form were it not for Ryan Coogler’s Marvel Cinematic Universe-backed Best Picture nominee Black Panther.

“I absolutely believe the success of Black Panther opened the door for this to be made. It was being developed prior to Black Panther coming out, but it didn’t have its green light. Black Panther changed everything, changed the game, changed culture, changed perception. Showed the value in our stories and that audience would come out and see our stories. So thank you Ryan Coogler for making such a dope movie.”

Black Panther was more than just a comic book spectacular; it was a full-blown cultural event that dominated the headlines for months on end. While we shouldn’t expect The Woman King to recapture that lightning in a bottle, it’s nonetheless gotten off to a seriously impressive start.