“Black Panther” — the $200 million blockbuster in wide release Friday — is already being hailed as cultural moment akin to #MeToo. And if Denzel Washington is right — a profitable one also.

On CNN, Van Jones wrote that he saw the film while seated in front of Washington, beside Whoopi Goldberg and along with Chris Rock, Gayle King, Tyra Banks and Robin Roberts.

“Denzel was moved to tears by the movie, said he felt like a proud father, and predicted it would make a billion dollars,” Jones said, adding:

“This film is a godsend that will lift the self-esteem of black children in the US and around the world for a long time. It shifts the understanding of where the power of African-descended people can come from.

“It underscores the fact that such power, in the new century, will come from access to technology more than any other source, and will inspire young people of color to pursue technology as a possible career path.”

In Los Angeles, special events surround the debut, including a a Black Panther costume exhibit at El Capitan Theatre at 6838 Hollywood Blvd.

Amplify Africa and Black Book LA are presenting a special screening with instructions to Cinemark moviegoers that include “dress code is Royal/African/Wakanda Inspired attires/costumes.”

“Our AFTER PARTY venue has changed from the venue in Hollywood to another just five minutes away from the theatre,” says the site. Door price is $20 for the 11 p.m. event DJ’d by Supernova & Kev with online admission for $10.

Meanwhile, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar modestly assessed the movie:

“It’s a little like witnessing the unveiling of an enormous statue on the public square — with the public square being the world — of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela dressed in bright dashikis,” Abdul-Jabbar was quoted as saying in The Hollywood Reporter.

At its Hollywood premiere, “Black Panther” received a rousing standing ovation — before the movie was even shown, said The Hollywood Reporter.

“Equally significant is that presales for tickets have broken Fandango’s record for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, in the weeks before the film was set to open Feb. 16, more than 200 grassroots campaigns in black communities from Denver to Toronto to Ghana were arranging screenings in order to commemorate the movie event.”

–City News Service

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