'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Pens Heartfelt Letter After Landmark Opening

"I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try," writes the filmmaker.
Photographed by Brooke Nipar

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is feeling grateful.

His Marvel Studios film is enjoying a historic run, with it earning $242 million at the Presidents Day box office, the second-best four-day showing ever in the U.S. It has become the best reviewed live-action superhero movie ever, and is being hailed as an important cultural moment thanks to its diverse cast and themes of African pride.

In a letter released Tuesday, Coogler reflects on what that outpouring means to him:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try.

Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film. But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters – often moved me and my wife to tears.

For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world – all before seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn't yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Sincerely,

Ryan Coogler

P.S. Wakanda Forever 

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