Axios Feb 18
SaveSave story

"Black Panther" makes history at the box office

Movie screening
A screening in Atlanta. Photo: Marcus Ingram / Getty Images

"Disney and Marvel Studios' Black Panther is making history at the North American box office, where it's pacing to take in a record-shattering $205 million-$210 million over the long Presidents Day weekend after earning a rare A+ CinemaScore from audiences," per the Hollywood Reporter. The film "earned $75.8 million on Friday, the eighth-biggest day of all time. Friday's gross includes $25.2 million in Thursday evening previews."

Why it matters: "Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther drew a diverse audience on Friday; 37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American, while Caucasians made up the next largest group (36 percent), according to comScore."

  • "That sort of demo breakdown is unheard of for a marquee superhero tentpole. On average, African-Americans make up about 15 percent of the audience for such fare."
  • "Black Panther will easily score the top February opening of all time and possibly the best showing of any superhero pic ahead of fellow Marvel title The Avengers ($207.4 million), not accounting for inflation."
  • "The movie's projected three-day haul of $185 million will also rank high up on the list of all-time openings. It will also mark the biggest opening ever for an African-American director."
  • "Directed by Ryan Coogler, the $200 million film is a defining moment in Hollywood history, being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast."

The gist: "'Black Panther' is the story of T'Challa, played by actor Chadwick Boseman, who returns home to Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African nation, after his father, the king of Wakanda, dies and T'Challa must take his place as ruler." (L.A. Times)

  • The language: "[T]he filmmakers have used isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, to solidify the story’s African authenticity. ... isiXhosa ... is a language that more than eight million South Africans — about 15 percent of the population — claim as their mother tongue." (N.Y. Times)

P.S. "Trolls target ‘Black Panther’: Tweets claim false attacks by black people at theaters" — L.A. Times:

  • "In the tweets, the posters frequently blame 'black youth' for the attacks, using images taken from various unrelated sources of bleeding and battered faces or images of blood in sinks and on towels."
  • "Public information officers for police departments in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston contacted by The Times said they had received no reports that would match the assault claims appearing online."
  • "Some of the accounts spreading the false reports have ... been suspended."
SaveSave story

Facebook reaches a tipping point

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Of all the news crises Facebook has faced during the past year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is playing out to be the worst and most damaging.

Why it matters: It's not that the reports reveal anything particularly new about how Facebook's back end works — developers have understood the vulnerabilities of Facebook's interface for years. But stakeholders crucial to the company's success — as well as the public seem less willing to listen to its side of the story this time around.

SaveSave story

Package believed to be en route to Austin explodes at FedEx facility

Austin police chief Brian Manley preparing to speak to media.
Austin police department chief Brian Manley preparing to speak to the media after a bombimg. Photo: Brian Manley via Twitter

A package reportedly on its way to Austin, where there have been four bombings in less than three weeks. exploded inside a Texas FedEx facility early Tuesday morning, per the Washington Post. No one is believed to be injured.

The latest: Local authorities said an earlier Sunday night explosion had “similarities” to the other package bombings that killed two people and injured two others earlier this month. They're now investigating what they consider to be a “serial bomber” situation.