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'Black Panther' Is 'The Worst Nightmare' of the Film Industry, Says White Writer

"Black Panther"'s success "comes at the expense of other would-be event movies."


According to one movie critic, it is "Black Panther"'s fault that other movies don't have a chance to be No. 1.

That's what one movie critic contends. Scott Mendelson, in a piece for Forbes, called the critically acclaimed, record-breaking film "the worst nightmare of an entire industry now" because it "won't die."

Mendelson's piece was originally titled "Box Office: 'Black Panther' Has Become Hollywood's Worst Nightmare: An Event Movie That Hurts Or Kills Other Event Movies" but is now called "Box Office: 'Black Panther' Should Terrify Every Hollywood Studio."

Mendelson seems to separate "Black Panther" from other films, as if it should be placed in its own category and other movies should not be rated based off of it. According to Mendelson, "Black Panther"'s success "comes at the expense of other would-be event movies."

"If this needs to be said, it's great news for Black Panther and folks who liked Black Panther (and what its success represents), but it should give pause to the rest of the industry now set on dropping would-be tentpoles every other week or so," Mendelson writes.

He says the movie's success isn't fair for other movies that would otherwise perform well at the box office:

"It's impossible when one big tentpole becomes such an all-audiences favorite and crushes every other studios' would-be event movie. We can't know how well the last months worth of tentpoles would have performed if Black Panther had played like a 'normal' ($95 million Fri-Sun/$235m total domestic) MCU flick."

In other words, it's "Black Panther"'s fault that it has garnered so much success and that other movies that would perform above average should be given a chance. The studios that created the other movies are not responsible for their films not keeping up with "Black Panther"; rather, "Black Panther" is doing something wrong by outperforming other films.

Absolutely not, Twitter users argued.

So it's Black Panther's fault other films didn't perform better? Too bad. They shoulda been better than "good". That's what the Black community (and to a larger extent, every minority community) has been told since birth to do just to survive. Seems that lesson helped BP. 

I'm trying to recall when the press said movies like Star Wars, Avatar and Harry Potter were considered Hollywood's worst nightmare for being so popular. But a Black film brings in $1 billion and it's a nightmare.

It's start to shatter long racist myths in Hollywood showing that our stories can be told on a global blockbuster scale, so you turn around and say it's a nightmare for Hollywood box office. this is trash.

"Black Panther" broke barriers as a movie with a Black director, Ryan Coogler, and a predominantly Black cast. DiversityInc's Sheryl Estrada described the film as "exceptional in every aspect":

"The multidimensional storyline highlights the future of African Americans and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the character of Shuri, brilliantly played by Letitia Wright. The beauty and grandness of African nations is celebrated through wardrobe, music and scenery. Themes of social justice are woven into the film. There's even a parallel made between unity and disunity within the Black community."

Mendelson has written similar reviews before, as he and others pointed out on Twitter, he did not receive the same kind of backlash.

"Maybe think about that and try to figure out why," one Twitter user wrote. "Hint, you phrased a wildly successful black film that means a lot to people as its success being a negative because it surpassed all expectations and 'won't die.'"

Mendelson said his point of the post was "that ['Black Panther''s] overwhelming box office domination should give the studios pause in terms of year-round tentpole scheduling, as the post stated."

A couple of users suggested Mendelson choose his words more carefully next time.

Your headline is very skewed. It calls the success of the film a "nightmare." Not, "here's a heads up for studios" or "here's something to consider." It's a "nightmare." And I realize that headlines have to be attention-grabbing, but that's really taking it too far imo. 

But what it is is a bad look. So go sit in a corner and think about why instead of trying to defend it. Take the L (now that you know what that means) and try to think about why you hit a nerve. You're a writer. You should know words mean things and framing matters.

Mendelson is hardly the first critic of "Black Panther"'s unprecedented success. Conservative activist and radio talk show host Ben Shapiro said Black people should not be excited about "Black Panther" because slaves were already emancipated, Barack Obama served as president for two terms and Halle Berry starred in "Catwoman." He called the hype over the film "incredibly stupid" and an example of "identity politics."

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