Fifty years after the first black comic book superhero was created, Atlanta rapper T.I. stood in a DeKalb County movie theater talking about black excellence.
He joined hundreds of people and local celebrities Tuesday at the Regal Hollywood Stadium 24 off I-85 after he helped buy screening tickets for hundreds of people ahead of the Friday release in an event hosted by Walmart.
In all, 245 people got free tickets a day before at a Walmart on Cascade Road, according to an organizer for the event.
On Tuesday through, it seems T.I. accidentally showed up to a screening at Atlantic Station hosted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kiss 104.1 before realizing he was supposed to be at the Regal in Chamblee.
Once he got to the right screening, he said: “I think it’s imperative to know that there’s greatness inside of all of us and our children should know that early — that there’s greatness inside of them and that they all possess superhero-like qualities that will allow them to change the world. All they have to do is activate it.”
Two white Jewish guys from New York created the black superhero in July 1966 who first appeared in Fantastic Four No. 52 with him jumping next to a title of, “Introducing: The Sensational Black Panther!”
In the canon: The Black Panther at various points is the ruler of Wakanda, an unconquered African nation that puts on the face of a third-world country but is actually wildly technologically advanced and sits on a mountain of vibranium — the stuff Captain America’s shield is made of.
And though it took 18 Marvel movies, the Black Panther is finally on the silver screen.
The film means a lot to folks, as is evidenced by the explosion of support on social media and the fact that people had to put their cell phones in bags and leave them outside the theater.
And it also means a lot of money.
No other Marvel film sold more advance tickets on Fandango, the company's managing editor Erik Davis said in a news release.
The movie, which partially filmed in the metro Atlanta area, spent $73 million here, said Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Charles H. Rivkin.
Mayor Keisha Bottoms was at the screening and spoke about what the film means to the city.
“It’s just an extraordinary opportunity for the City of Atlanta to be here to celebrate this African-American cast that was filmed right here in Atlanta really speaks to what’s possible in this city and the opportunities we have in this city when we provide incentives and when we are a friendly and welcoming place,” she said.
"Though Bottoms hasn't read the comic books, she said she was excited to see the movie with her children. They weren’t the only ones.
Dai Arceneaux, an 11-year-old girl from Smyrna, was there interviewing various famous folks from shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.”
Arceneaux was dressed in African-inspired clothing. She is a part of a group named “Wakanda Rising” that formed during the run-up to the film. It plans to advocate for arts programs in schools.
“I hate superheroes, but that was a really good movie,” she said.