5 Other Films That Had Us Just as Hype as Black Panther

There is a long list of black films that have had an impact on our community socially, politically, and culturally. But every now and then, there is a movie that reaches above these impacts and touches us on a deeper level. A movie that we all are excited about, and celebrate with the best of hype, all of our hearts, and most importantly, our dollar. 

The latest movie to have this type of impact is Marvel's Black Panther. The entire Marvel Universe is trailblazing to say the least. Not only is Marvel Studios the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, they have been a catalyst for civil rights and other social movements in the past.

Given where our current society is as a whole, a movie like Black Panther - one with a majority black cast; set in a fictional African country; with a projected opening week of $150 million; and an almost perfect rating on Rotten Tomato's - is iconic. The film debuts this coming Thursday, February 15th, and has already broken a number of world records, including being the most hyped movie in black culture since Straight Outta Compton (up for debate). 

Energy I’m On All Week........#BlackPanther

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There is an indescribable factor about some movies, that metrics just don't do justice. And although it's hard to measure this magical impact, money is the next best measurement. African-American audiences are among the most-frequent moviegoers, buying about a quarter of all domestic tickets annually! They may not always count us, but they will always count our dollars.

 On set. Courtesey of Marvel Studios.

On set. Courtesey of Marvel Studios.

The already bonafide cult classic spiraled me into thought about other movies that have had a similar effect. I didn't know exactly where to start with this list, but after conversations with family and friends, I realized that there were countless movies that hit the big screen and had a huge impact on the culture - but didn't necessarily create that magic at the box office. This list consisted of movies like; School Daze; Mo Better Blues; Malcolm X; Do The Right Thing; The Color Purple; Harlem Nights; Coming To America; New Jack City; Boy's In The Hood; Friday; Poetic Justice; Eve's Bayou; and Love Jones

After sifting through a plethora of movies that spanned several generations, I decided to narrow it down to some of my favorite movies that were released within the last 25 years; had a majority black cast; did exceptionally well at the box office opening weekend; and as a general consensus, most black people have seen.

1. Waiting to Exhale 

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I was only four years old when Forest Whitaker's directorial debut, Waiting to Exhale, was released, but I vividly remember the impact it had on black women everywhere. And my father assured me this was the first movie we all showed up for on release day. Not to mention, the movie had an all-star cast, with once-in-a-lifetime performances. 

2. Straight Outta Compton

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Skipping a few generations, and totally switching gears, F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton was a smash hit at the box office. Not only was it the highest-grossing film domestically directed by a black filmmaker, it created a hype in the industry that didn't die out quickly, or quietly. 

3. Get Out

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Although Jordan Peele's Get Out didn't include a marjory black cast, the main character was black, and the impact it had on the types of deeper messages black films permeate within mainstream media was epic. It was smart, well-written, and on April 8th 2017, it beat out F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton as the highest-grossing film domestically directed by a black filmmaker.

4. Bad Boy's 

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The world hasn't been the same since Will Smith and Martin Lawrence teamed up for Bad Boy's. It's opening weekend, the film was ranked number one, beating out movies like; Forest Gump; Major Payne; and Pulp Fiction. 

The follow-up film, Bad Boy's II, was also ranked number one it's opening weekend, grossing more than the original, and beat out movies such as; Charle's Angels: Full Throttle; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; and The Matrix Reloaded. 

5. Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman 

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While Diary of a Mad Black Woman wasn't necessarily a smash hit it's opening weekend, Perry's highly anticipated debut feature film sent the black [church-going] community into a frenzy. So much so, that the film, while still ranked number 4 it's opening weekend, beat out the likes of; Million Dollar Baby; Constantine; and Meet The Fockers. In addition to this, most black people have seen AT LEAST one Tyler Perry movie. I'm willing to bet money.

I know...I know, this list is missing so many movies it almost hurts. But each of these films, in my eyes, represents the power of representation in mainstream media. Each of these movies are so different, yet tell stories we can all relate to. They literally made going to the movies an unforgettable experience, both on-screen, and off.

Rachel NevelsCultureComment