NATCHEZ, LA (WAFB) - Scores of Natchez youth were treated Saturday to the new movie, "Black Panther" on the dime of two local filmmakers, The Natchez Democrat reports.
The line to get into the movie went well into the field outside of the Natchez Mall Regal IV theater, as excited youngsters and their parents alike waited for the doors to open before the 12:30 p.m. showing.
The movie is based on Marvel Comics' fictional superhero, who became the first hero of African descent in mainstream American comic books.
Those in line displayed their tickets, all paid for by director Tate Taylor and producer John Norris. Both are currently filming a feature-length horror movie in Natchez called, "Ma."
Mother of three Troylynn Thomas said though she knew little about Marvel or superhero movies, the film served as an empowering moment for her and her children.
"I think that this is a great movie for our culture," she said. "I'm really here to support my culture today … and to bring my children so that they can see something that they haven't saw before, which is a majority black cast.
"That's why we're here. I think this is history in the making."
While waiting in line, 8-year-old twin brothers Cayden and Cobie Johnson and their 4-year-old brother Ashton giddily awaited show time.
Ashton said he liked Black Panther because of his cool mask.
"Don't forget the suit," Cobie told his brother.
Nearby, Deborah Berry stood in line with 8-year-old Jatara Berry and 10-year-old Kierre Bradford.
"(The movie) portrays positive role models for our kids," Deborah Berry said.
She also commended the act of buying out the theater so children could see the film.
"That's been a good thing. It's made it possible for some people who may not have been able to see the movie see it, and see it for free," she said.
Taylor and Norris' decision to rent out the theater was inspired by actress Octavia Spencer, who is starring in "Ma."
Spencer rented out a Pearl theater Saturday for Black Panther, and Norris said he and Taylor were happy to match her efforts in Natchez.
Norris also said the star of Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, texted him a message of gratitude.
"Chad texted me (Monday) just saying, 'This is part of the movement, this feels great, thank you for doing it,'" Norris said.
Black Panther opened Friday, garnering $75.8 million on opening day.
Variety reports the film's estimated three-day gross of $192 million is the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time. Combined with an estimated international debut of $169 million from 69% of the international market, the estimated global debut stands at $361 million through Sunday.