Did Marvel Reach Its Apex with ‘Black Panther’?
As Marvel releases its first 2019 film, Captain Marvel, let’s reflect on Black Panther—which wrapped up its earth-shattering year two weeks ago at the 91st Academy Awards. The film won three Oscars (Costume Design, Production Design & Original Music) in addition to netting $1.3 billion at the global box office. Black Panther’s marketing was the key to this success.
Timing: Black Panther was released February 16, 2018, the middle of Black History Month. It was an auspicious choice; release a blockbuster with a predominately black cast and black filmmaker when we recognize black culture and history. Yes, there was risk involved—February is traditionally a dead zone for movie. But risk turned into reward. Black Panther had ZERO competition.
Tie-Ins & Grassroots: Black Panther was a Marvel film, so it got a Marvel release. It had the most expansive ad budget of any Marvel non-sequel, reportedly $140 million. It had a car tie-in. But, it also had a grassroots campaign. Marketing pros in NYC raised money for the entire Harlem Boys & Girls Club to see the film, launching the #BlackPantherChallenge, which encouraged others to help children in underprivileged areas see the film. The likes of J.J. Abrams and Snoop Dogg chipped in and approximately $900,000 was raised via various GoFundMe campaigns. “They promoted Black Panther both broadly like a blockbuster and deeply like a passion project,” said AMC Theatres Exec. VP and Chief Content & Programming Officer Elizabeth Frank.
Cultural Marketing: The film was marketed with an African American audience in mind. The viewers were 37% African American, up from the 15% norm for superhero films. Music star Kendrick Lamar was chosen to head the film’s soundtrack and performed during the 2018 College Football National Championship Game. Teasers dropped during Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Both sports have a large African-American following. Finally, New York Fashion Week partnered with Disney for a “Welcome to Wakanda: Fashion for the Black Panther Era” fashion show, which was enthusiastically received.
Studios are studying how to replicate Black Panther’s success. That will be a tall order. It was a marketing masterstroke, released during a push for diversity in Hollywood. Also, and maybe most importantly, it was a good movie.
- SOURCE: Speaking Human (Flashback Post)
- BRANDS: Black Panther, Marvel
- WHY YOU WILL LOVE IT: Because ‘Black Panther’ accomplished many feats that once seemed impossible