When you look at the run-up into the launch of Marvel’s Ebony Panther in Asia weekend that is last pundits warned that the film could just aspire to, at the best, match Ant-Man’s opening in the area ($43 million). “The themes on most movies with mainly black casts will never be of great interest to Chinese audiences, ” USC professor and Asia professional Stanley Rosen pronounced, assuring Deadline that the movie would underperform.
And yet when Black Panther finally made landfall in Asia, it blew past all predictions, with a $67 million opening—up there with several of Marvel’s long-running, well-established franchises that are cinematic such as Avengers: chronilogical age of Ultron, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This “surprise” success arrived despite a persistent news narrative with unsightly implications, both for China and Hollywood: That Chinese racism will destroy any window of opportunity for success for the movie with black colored leads.
Asia has become the world’s second biggest theatrical market, but this presumption has offered Hollywood a rationale to mainly avoid releasing movies with black colored protagonists here. It has also generated egregious functions of “decolorization” in exactly exactly exactly how Hollywood movies are marketed, including Lucasfilm’s choice to attenuate John Boyega’s face in Chinese posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Despite healthier advance buzz plus an explosively good reaction in China to its very very early trailers, Ebony Panther wasn’t spared these shenanigans. Early Marvel posters for the film’s launch in Asia showed the superhero, played by Chadwick Boseman, completely masked, in razor- razor- razor- sharp comparison to your United States posters, which showcased Boseman along with his chiseled features considerably exposed.