Today, Black Panther’s global box office crossed the one-billion dollar mark. In doing so, the Marvel super hero epic became the 33rd movie to gross one-billion worldwide and, already, it’s the ninth-highest release in US history. Much of the film’s success is attributed to its diverse cast and crew, led by director Ryan Coogler, actors Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira, and a soundtrack helmed by Kendrick Lamar. Together they proved that a black superhero film can win over a mainstream audience.
Joe Robert Cole — who co-wrote Marvel’s Black Panther with Ryan Coogler — believes there are other factors behind the film’s immense success. Appearing at a SXSW panel on Saturday (via IndieWire), Cole theorized that America’s depraved political system, as well as the ongoing #MeToo movement, has movie audiences in search of a different type of superhero. In doing so, Cole also questioned whether a womanizing playboy like Tony Stark/Iron Man would find as much success as a standalone movie released today.
“Think about where we are now, with this very vapid, unintelligent president and our world is crackling on the edges because of that. Think back to Tony Stark, him being douchey and being okay. If that character, Stark, was created in a movie today, I wonder if the response would be like, ‘Oh, it’s cool that he’s douchey and disrespectful to women … That’s fine.’ I think we’re at a different place. I think it’s a better place.”
The last standalone Iron Man movie was released back in 2013, but Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark character has remained a visible presence in many of recent blockbusters, including The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Those films have had no trouble at the box office, as they both have surpassed one-billion in worldwide sales. Still, it’s interesting question — how would a standalone Iron Man film fare in 2018 America? It’s also one we won’t get answered, as Downey has ruled out any further Iron Man movies.