By now, Black Panther has become widely accepted as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. Not only was the film a critical hit, it was also a smashing success at the box office, bringing in well over a billion dollars worldwide.
Perhaps that's why it was so strange when a white writer named Scott Mendelson published an article on Forbes.com titled "Box Office: 'Black Panther' Has Become Hollywood's Worst Nightmare."
Mendelson attempted to make the argument that Black Panther's extended stay atop the Hollywood box office (it has currently held the top spot since its premier five weeks ago), was bad for the entertainment industry. Instead, it ended up sounding like the box office expert was blaming Black Panther for its own success.
"A slate of event movies is facing an environment where they aren’t the event," he wrote. "Black Panther serves as a consensus pick for every demographic. The Ryan Coogler-directed MCU action drama, its obvious value as a conventional wisdom-crushing crowdpleaser (and possible Oscar-contender) notwithstanding, represents the worst nightmare of an entire industry now dedicated to a near-weekly stream of glorified event movies. Black Panther is so big, so good and so “one size fits all” in its appeal that it has turned an entire slate of would-be blockbusters into counterprogramming."
Unsurprisingly, many fans of the film took to Twitter to drag Mendelson for his close-minded approach to the film's incredible accomplishments.
So why write is as “(Black Panther) should terrify every studio” “Black panther is a nightmare” and not “Black Panther proves that studios need to rethink their release schedules”? Your angle puts onus on Black Panther being sucessful rather than studios possibly poor planning.— Boogie (@naima) March 21, 2018
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.— Benjamin Dobbs (@Frank6Bf) March 20, 2018
I’d feel a lot more kindly to this article if it ever bothered to allude to any potential benefits of an black movie being this big of a success.— Queerly, Dubious (@DubiousCA) March 20, 2018
As it is, it becomes uncomfortably framed as ‘the black one is *stealing* all the money that ‘rightfully’ belonged to other films’
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.— Lisa Bee (@leebee4life) March 20, 2018
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.— Jenee Darden (@CocoaFly) March 20, 2018
The nothinkpiece by @ScottMendelson on how Black Panther's success is killing Hollywood is just the latest bit of coded language to come out in an attempt to disparage the movie's runaway success. Don't worry, no one is paying that much attention to you.— Richard Barrett (@yoshxl) March 21, 2018
Diversity issues in Hollywood are white men like @ScottMendelson who doesn't realize how they reinforce stereotypes in industry critiques.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) March 21, 2018
Language like "hurts," "kills," "terrify," "worst nightmare" -- show how they even criminalize us doing positive things. #BlackPanther https://t.co/sH9ElUkNqj
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.— D.K. Uzoukwu (@DKuzLA) March 21, 2018
Seriously? That's some serious white fragility you've got going there— (((Nasty Cajsa))) (@Cajsa) March 21, 2018
I'm sorry to put this on you but WTF was his point? Shouldn't the message be "Hollywood, stop making shitty movies that crushed by superior (BLACK) ones?"— Anthony @ #GDC18 (@antpooh) March 21, 2018