Black Panther: A Moviegoer’s Guide to the Moviegoer

**Note: There will be some stereotyping in this post (denotative meaning) to achieve a lighthearted and fun (connotative meaning) tone. (In other words, get the heck over yourself, and have some fun! It’s Black Panther week!)**

With not just the highest pre-sales record for a Marvel® movie, but now the highest pre-sales record for any superhero movie, Marvel Studio’s Black Panther® moviegoers are not just going to be the typical comic book/superhero nerds that went on the first weekend of X-Men® way back in 2000. (Almost 20 years ago! Gah!) And since I have seen every deconstruction of the every trailer that I could possibly see, why not look at this movie from a different angle? Here’s a moviegoer’s guide to the audience you may see at your Black Panther screening this weekend.

If you are a…

Regular Moviegoer (read: maybe into action movies or maybe dragged to this movie by a significant other, probably White or oblivious to the struggle) So, you have no idea what wonders await you in Wakanda. In fact, you probably don’t even know what a Wakanda is (and no, it’s not a big snake). But that’s okay, there will be others there that don’t know what Wakanda is either.  You are not alone.

What you need to know about everyone else: There will be excited fans with various Black Panther and Avenger-themed t-shirts, African cultural wear, and maybe some in all-out costumes. Do not worry about being underdressed: you will be, but no one will care. For the fans, this is all about the movie. You will see rogue snacks, fast food, maybe even plastic containers with homemade food that have mysteriously slipped by the ticket taker. You will hear a lot of cheering and talking to the screen. Someone may be filming.  Do not be disturbed by what you see.  Just sit back and enjoy the antics on screen as well as in-theater. Some of us have been waiting for this movie for a long time. This is a very big deal for many reasons. It’s okay to learn the handshake. But if you want to leave when the credits start, do it quickly because Marvel movie geeks stay through the end of the credits.

Psyched Non-Nerd Moviegoer (read: socially conscious, just happy to see black people on screen but not really into comic books, probably Black or down with the cause) So, you’ve been waiting for this movie for a while. A serious black superhero movie with a mostly black cast! (No, Meteorman and Blankman don’t count.) Showcasing us at our best!  You’ve heard about the movie, seen some trailers (most likely during your favorite shows), and you’ve managed to score a ticket for opening weekend!  But, what’s a Wakanda?

What you need to know about everyone else: Well, all that stuff above for the regular moviegoer applies here. PLUS: While you may have seen the many Coming to America memes about what people are going to wear, comic book moviegoers are a t-shirt and jeans crowd. We don’t do stilettos, lots of jewelry, or suits. Don’t worry about being overdressed; people may look at you strange, but once the movie starts, no one will be paying attention to you. If you see some moviegoers in various level of cosplay, it’s normal here, so don’t call them out. Try not to scare the white folks with Bojangles® boxes or In-and-Out® burger bags.  And if your theater has reserved seating, please be in the right seat and have your ticket stub ready. Some theaters have been sold out for weeks, and well, nerds are nerds. Today, this is their turf!

Comic Book Nerd/Superhero Geek (read: Big Bang Theory type of nerd) So, you know where Wakanda is (yes, it’s a place!), you know about vibranium, and you know this is not Black Panther’s first appearance on the big screen. This is a must-see movie for you for 1 or all of these reasons:

  1. It’s right before Avengers: Infinity War, and you need this to complete the circle.
  2. You never miss a Marvel Movie in its first weekend.
  3. The action and effects from the trailer are so awesome, you’ve gotta see it!
  4. Something to talk about when you meet up with friends at the comic book store later.

What you need to know about everyone else: If you haven’t bought a ticket for NEXT weekend (or 2 weekends later), then you will need another one. Why? Because you will miss some Easter eggs and some comic book tie-ins, and you may be annoyed that you did (because you’re a nerd). People are not going to laugh in the right places or get some of jokes. Some people aren’t going to spot Stan Lee.  Some people will not understand your cosplay. The thing to remember here is not  to be affected by the surroundings. The big screen first-week Marvel experience will be new for a lot of people this weekend, many who could care less about superheroes, but felt the need to represent at THIS movie. And what you don’t get this first weekend, you will see in the second screening in March when the diehard fans re-emerge.

Black Comic Book Nerd/Superhero Geek  (self-explanatory) We’ve been psyched since the first trailer came out, and this is how we reacted when we saw it: (click here) (So now you know where I fit in!)

What you need to know about everyone else: You’ve already planned a second showing, because you will miss some Easter eggs and some comic book tie-ins, and you may be annoyed that you did (because you’re a nerd), but you will get over it (because you’re so happy this movie is out, you don’t mind seeing it again). There will be some people that won’t understand us. There will be some people asking us questions, there will be some people talking and annoying us. Try to spot them before the movie starts and sit far away from them (unless you have reserved seating. In which case, hopefully you’ve brought an entourage with someone that will trade seats with you). If you can’t, tell them to shut up. This is our turf; this is our movie. This is not high school; we own this theater for the next 2+ hours. If you have friends who’ve never been to a Marvel movie, please educate them NOW: Do not be late, we unobtrusively point when we spot Stan Lee (if they ask who Stan Lee is, stop being friends with them. You don’t need that kind of annoyance in your life), and plan to stay after the credits. This is an event we’ve been waiting for for months! Over a year if you start with Civil War sighting. Don’t let the newbs mess it up for ya.

Have a fun time at the movies! Wakanda Forever!