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It’s Official: ‘Black Panther’ Tops ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ in Historic $242 Million 4-Day Opening

Disney-Marvel’s Black Panther” is re-writing the record books, topping “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for the second-highest four-day domestic opening of all time, with $242 million at 4,020 North American locations.The superhero pic set a record for top Monday domestic gross ever, with $40.2 million, edging the previous high set by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $40.1 million. The Monday total came in $7 million above the studio’s projections and lifted the four-day haul to $242 million.

Black Panther” has grossed the second-highest four-day total of all time, behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $288.1 million and $400,000 ahead of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Disney also reported Tuesday that the international total has reached $184.6 million to lift the worldwide take to $426.6 million, led by South Korea at $27.1 million and the U.K. at $26.7 million.

The tentpole, starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has blown past its original tracking. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production budget, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first projections emerged on Jan. 25.

Since then, “Black Panther” has become a must-see event as it’s veered into record-setting territory and has continued to shatter all projections since then. It has the highest three-day debut ever for a February film and the fifth-biggest of all time behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $248 million, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at $220 million, “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million, and “The Avengers” at $207.4 million.

“Black Panther” has demolished the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, blowing past “Deadpool’s” 2016 mark of $152 million.

Source: http://variety.com/2018/film/news/black-panther-box-office-tops-star-wars-last-jedi-1202704917/

Weekend Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Bounds to Record-Shattering $218 Million-Plus Opening

The movie scores one of the top openings of all time in North America; overseas, it amasses $169 million for a $387 million global debut.
“Black Panther” (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)
In a defining moment for Hollywood, Disney and Marvel StudiosBlack Panther exploded at the Presidents Day box office, bounding to a record-shattering estimate of $192 million for the three-day weekend and a projected $218 million-plus for the four-day holiday frame.

The Ryan Coogler-directed movie — unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast — secured the fifth-biggest domestic opening of all time after blasting past all expectations. It’s also the best launch of any superhero film behind fellow Marvel title The Avengers (2012), which earned $207.4 million in its first three days, not accounting for inflation.

The weekend isn’t over, however, and Black Panther could climb even higher. Many rival studios show a four-day total of $222 million to $225 million, as well as a higher three-day total in the $195 million range.

Other records broken include that of the biggest opening for an African-American director, the top-scoring superhero film on Rotten Tomatoes (97 percent) and the biggest February bow, supplanting previous champ Deadpool, which took in $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend in 2016.

Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther was fueled by a diverse audience. According to comScore, 37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American. Caucasians made up the next largest group (35 percent), followed by Hispanics (18 percent). That sort of demographic breakdown is unheard of for a marquee superhero tentpole. On average, African-Americans make up about 15 percent of the audience for such fare.

“There are seven billion people on this planet and they come from all walks of life. Audiences deserve to see themselves reflected on the big screen. Beyond being the right thing to do, it makes for richer storytelling,” says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis.

Adds Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster, “Representation matters. Get Out, Wonder Woman, Coco and now Black Panther show Hollywood that authenticity and inclusiveness wins.”

Black Panther, which cost $200 million to make before marketing, was a bold move on the part of Disney and Marvel’s Kevin Feige.

In the film, Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. The story, described as a tale of black power and black pride in addition to its superhero themes, follows T’Challa as he is sworn in as king of Wakanda, a cloaked, technologically advanced nation in Africa that is home to the exotic metal vibranium, the source of Black Panther’s powers.

Audiences bestowed Black Panther with an A+ CinemaScore (the only other Marvel title to earn the mark was Avengers).

Black Panther hits theaters almost a year after Jordan Peele‘s maverick horror film Get Out transformed into a box-office sensation, although that was a genre pic. And in summer 2017, filmmaker Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, featuring a female protagonist, became the highest-grossing live-action film from a female director.

Overseas — where American films with a black cast can face challenges — Black Panther opened in virtually every major market save for Russia (Feb. 22), Japan (March 1) and China (March 9). The movie earned a mighty $169 million for an estimated global bow of $387 million through Monday, including a hefty $52 million from Imax locations around the world.

Black Panther came in ahead of expectations overseas, but certainly not to the extent it did in North America. Still, it secured the fifteenth-biggest international opening of all time, opening No. 1 in almost every territory. South Korea led with $25.3 million, the fifth-biggest start ever for a Western title. The U.K./Ireland followed with a $24.8 million launch, the best showing of any Marvel title behind Avengers: Age of Ultron and eclipsing the entire runs of Justice League, Ant-Man and the first installments in the Captain America and Thor franchises.

In North America, the only movies that dared to open nationwide opposite Black Panther were Lionsgate and Aardman Animation’s family film Early Man and PureFlix’s faith-based pic Samson. Early Man placed No. 7 with an estimated four-day gross of $4.2 million from 2,492 theaters, while Samson came in No. 11 with an estimated $2.4 million from 1,249 cinemas.

Source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/weekend-box-office-black-panther-bounds-record-shattering-218m-debut-1085932

Dr. David Blackwell, UC Berkeley’s 1st Tenured Black Scholar, Has a Building Named in His Honor

David Blackwell (photo via nytimes.com)

via jbhe.com

The University of California Berkeley is naming its newest residence hall in honor of David Blackwell. Dr. Blackwell, an accomplished statistician, was the first African American to be grant tenured at the university. He joined the mathematics department at Berkeley in 1954 and stayed on the faculty there until retiring in 1988. Dr. Blackwell died in 2010.

The new residence hall will house 750 undergraduate students and is expected to be ready to open this fall. Chancellor Carol Christ said that Professor Blackwell is “an exemplar of what Berkeley stands for: scholarly excellence of the highest caliber tied to a mission of social justice and inclusion.”

A native of Illinois, in 1935 Blackwell entered the University of Illinois at the age of 16. By 1941 he had earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics. He then joined the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton but left after one year. Professor Blackwell taught at Southern University and Atlanta University before joining the faculty at Howard University in 1944. At Howard, he became a full professor and chaired the department of mathematics. In 1965 Dr. Blackwell was the first African American to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/02/berkeleys-first-tenured-black-scholar-has-a-building-named-in-his-honor/?utm_campaign=20180215wb

 

Target Adds Melissa Butler’s Black-owned and Vegan Beauty Brand, The Lip Bar, to its Shelves

Target to carry Melissa Butler's The Lip Bar in stores. (Melissa Butler) thegrio.com
Target to carry Melissa Butler’s The Lip Bar in stores. (Melissa Butler)

by Nekea Valentine via thegrio.com

According to Allure, Target has partnered with the Black-owned beauty brand, The Lip Bar, and will launch their line of vegan and cruelty-free products this spring. Melissa Butler, a former Wall Street financial analyst, is the founder of the brand after spending years frustrated and dissatisfied with the lack of representation for black women in the beauty industry.

Butler states, “Everyone deserves to have representation. Without it, we are left seeking validation.”

Butler also states in the initial stages of her building her brand, The Lip Bar, she pitched it to Shark Tank. The sharks decided to pass on what is now a business she says is worth nearly half a million dollars.

(image via allure.com)

The 30-year old Detroit native’s brand has skyrocketed since starting The Lip Bar in 2012 out of her own kitchen in Brooklyn, NY. Fast forward to 2018 and the entire line is already available in 44 Target stores and will be available in 100 more stores this May.

Target launched the line with two exclusive shades: Unimpressed, a liquid matte lip color, and Baddie, a lip gloss. Lipstick lovers can also choose from The Lip Bar’s Cream Lipstick ($12), which is full of moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil and vitamin E or the Liquid Matte Collection ($13) with almond oil to keep your pucker moist.

Finally, there’s the line of lip glosses ($14) which are organic, nourishing and provide a slight glaze for a touch of glamour.

Butler pledges: “Everything we do at The Lip Bar is about empowering women to be their best selves. We give representation to the underserved so that every girl has the privilege of being socially accepted as beautiful. And in in my free time, I mentor young women in the inner city of Detroit (my hometown) to show them that they are better than their surroundings and to prove that they don’t have to be a product of their environment.”

Source: https://thegrio.com/2018/02/15/target-sell-black-owned-beauty-brand-lip-bar/

Nigerian Photographer Àsìkò Recreates Black Panther-Inspired Posters with Kids

(images by Àsìkò, Disney/Marvel)

by Ricky Riley via blavity.com

With just a few more days until its release, Marvel‘s next installment into their cinematic universe, Black Panther, has already started shaping the imaginations of a generation of kids.

London-based Nigerian photographer Àsìkò, who goes by @asiko_artist on social media, decided to highlight this by recreating the sensational character posters with kids inspired by the film. Àsìkò shared a few individual pictures from the series on Instagram and wrote about why Black Panther matters and what it means to him as comic lover.

“As a kid who read comics black panther was one of the very few superheroes I came across,” he wrote. “For a child it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture. What is also great is that it’s a hero steeped in culture and heritage and not drug deals or street thugging.”

“The images are inspired by the movie character posters and will be displayed at the BFI on its opening film night this Friday evening,” he added.

Àsìkò wrote that the photos were commissioned by the Talent Agency @lookslikemeuk.  On his page, he posted a series of pictures featuring young kids channeling characters from the film, along with captions that include moving letters from fans on why black representation in film matters.

To read more, go to: https://blavity.com/these-awesome-kids-channelled-their-inner-black-panther-to-recreate-posters-for-the-film

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama Portraits Unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

Kehinde Wiley has set Mr. Obama against greenery, with flowers that have symbolic meaning: African blue lilies for Kenya, his father’s birthplace; jasmine for Hawaii, where Mr. Obama was born; chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, for the city where his political career began. (Credit: Kehinde Wiley)

by Holland Cotter via nytimes.com

With the unveiling Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. of the official presidential likenesses of Barack Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, this city of myriad monuments gets a couple of new ones, each radiating, in its different way, gravitas (his) and glam (hers).

Ordinarily, the event would pass barely noticed in the worlds of politics and art. Yes, the Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution, owns the only readily accessible complete collection of presidential likenesses. But recently commissioned additions to the collection have been so undistinguished that the tradition of installing a new portrait after a leader has left office is now little more than ceremonial routine.

The present debut is strikingly different. Not only are the Obamas the first presidential couple claiming African descent to be enshrined in the collection. The painters they’ve picked to portray them — Kehinde Wiley, for Mr. Obama’s portrait; Amy Sherald, for Mrs. Obama — are African-American as well. Both artists have addressed the politics of race consistently in their past work, and both have done so in subtly savvy ways in these new commissions. Mr. Wiley depicts Mr. Obama not as a self-assured, standard-issue bureaucrat, but as an alert and troubled thinker. Ms. Sherald’s image of Mrs. Obama overemphasizes an element of couturial spectacle, but also projects a rock-solid cool.

It doesn’t take #BlackLivesMatter consciousness to see the significance of this racial lineup within the national story as told by the Portrait Gallery. Some of the earliest presidents represented — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson — were slaveholders; Mrs. Obama’s great-great grandparents were slaves. And today we’re seeing more and more evidence that the social gains of the civil rights, and Black Power, and Obama eras are, with a vengeance, being rolled back.

On several levels, then, the Obama portraits stand out in this institutional context, though given the tone of bland propriety that prevails in the museum’s long-term “America’s Presidents” display — where Mr. Obama’s (though not Mrs. Obama’s) portrait hangs — standing out is not all that hard to do.

Amy Sherald’s take on Mrs. Obama emphasizes an element of couturial spectacle (with a dress designed by Michelle Smith) and rock-solid cool. (Credit:  Amy Sherald)

Mr. Wiley, born in Los Angeles in 1977, gained a following in the early 2000s with his crisp, glossy, life-size paintings of young African-American men dressed in hip-hop styles, but depicted in the old-master manner of European royal portraits. More recently he has expanded his repertoire to include female subjects, as well as models from Brazil, India, Nigeria and Senegal, creating the collective image of a global black aristocracy.

In an imposingly scaled painting — just over seven feet tall — the artist presents Mr. Obama dressed in the regulation black suit and an open-necked white shirt, and seated on a vaguely thronelike chair not so different from the one seen in Stuart’s Washington portrait. But art historical references stop there. So do tonal echoes of past portraits. Whereas Mr. Obama’s predecessors are, to the man, shown expressionless and composed, Mr. Obama sits tensely forward, frowning, elbows on his knees, arms crossed, as if listening hard. No smiles, no Mr. Nice Guy. He’s still troubleshooting, still in the game.

His engaged and assertive demeanor contradicts — and cosmetically corrects — the impression he often made in office of being philosophically detached from what was going on around him. At some level, all portraits are propaganda, political or personal. And what makes this one distinctive is the personal part. Mr. Wiley has set Mr. Obama against — really embedded him in — a bower of what looks like ground cover. From the greenery sprout flowers that have symbolic meaning for the sitter. African blue lilies represent Kenya, his father’s birthplace; jasmine stands for Hawaii, where Mr. Obama himself was born; chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago, reference the city where his political career began, and where he met his wife.

Mrs. Obama’s choice of Ms. Sherald as an artist was an enterprising one. Ms. Sherald, who was born in Columbus, Ga., in 1973 and lives in Baltimore, is just beginning to move into the national spotlight after putting her career on hold for some years to deal with a family health crisis, and one of her own. (She had a heart transplant at 39.) Production-wise, she and Mr. Wiley operate quite differently. He runs the equivalent of a multinational art factory, with assistants churning out work. Ms. Sherald, who until a few years ago made her living waiting tables, oversees a studio staff of one, herself.

At the same time, they have much in common. Both focused early on African-American portraiture precisely because it is so little represented in Western art history. And both tend to blend fact and fiction. Mr. Wiley, with photo-realistic precision, casts actual people in fantastically heroic roles. (He modifies his heroizing in the case of Mr. Obama, but it’s still there.) Ms. Sherald also starts with realism, but softens and abstracts it. She gives all her figures gray-toned skin — a color with ambiguous racial associations — and reduces bodies to geometric forms silhouetted against single-color fields.

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/arts/design/obama-portrait.html

Portraits of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
At the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington; 202-633-1000; npg.si.edu.

CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice Debuts Online Archive on Slavery in New York

(image from “Slavery In New York” ed. by Ira Berlin and Leslie M. Harris via amazon.com)

via jbhe.com

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York, has announced the establishment of the New York Slavery Records Index, an online archive of slavery records from 1525 until the end of the Civil War.

The new online archive includes more than 35,000 records. The index includes census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents and many other sources. Include are 1,400 birth certificates of slaves and more than 30,000 records that list the names of slave owners in New York. Also included are more than 500 advertisements seeking the capture and return of enslaved New Yorkers.

Karol V. Mason, President of John Jay College, said that “this vast, public database will serve as an important research tool that will support information-based scholarship on slavery in New York and across the nation. The launch of this index marks a significant contribution to understanding and remembering the country’s history of slavery and advances the college’s mission of educating for justice.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/02/john-jay-college-of-criminal-justice-debuts-an-online-archive-on-slavery-in-new-york/

Other resources on Slavery in New York:

New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan

A History of Negro Slavery in New York

New York and Slavery: Time To Teach The Truth