Accepted Hollywood wisdom has traditionally had a number of unshakeable 'truths'.
Some of these are Brits make the best bad guys; the good guys always win (except in the middle of a trilogy where the redemption offered at the end will be even sweeter for the despair audiences felt on exiting part two); women are too often seen but not heard (a recent BBC study revealed the shocking lack of dialogue historically given to female characters in Best Picture Oscar-winning movies), and movies with black casts don't make money.
Said Hollywood 'wisdom' (we use that term very loosely) has just been turned on its head, however. Last Saturday, after 26 days in cinemas, Ryan Coogler's more-than-a-Marvel-movie Black Panther planted itself firmly on Billionaire's Row, having taken over a billion dollars at the global box office (Dh3.67 billion).
The film is the 33rd to do so, an impressive 16th billion-dollar-baby for Disney, and the seventh super hero movie to clear nine zeroes – five of them Marvel outings.
Coogler's movie, which stars Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous hero, and king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, also used the weekend to leapfrog The Dark Knight in its domestic US market, making it the second-highest-grossing super hero movie at US box offices ever, behind The Avengers – for now.
Plus, the movie only opened last weekend in the world’s second biggest market, China, and full weekend figures weren’t yet available at the time of writing. The vast Wakandan sky, truly, is the limit.
What about in the UAE?
Black Panther is already the highest grossing film of 2018 in UAE cinemas. It has spent all four weeks since its release atop the local box office charts, and is currently the third highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie on UAE screens to date, and it's only been on release here for three weeks.
No one at the major cinema chains or Disney wanted to hazard a guess as to how long the film/phenomenon will hang around cinemas in the MENA region and the UAE, but the general feeling seemed to be that if audiences keep coming, the film will keep screening. Right now, with the film still sitting in its seemingly unassailable #1 slot at the UAE box office, there’s no sign of audiences going anywhere.
Part superhero yarn, part socio-political diatribe and part historic moment - the movie is, above all, a whole load of fun, and UAE audiences seem to agree.