‘Black Panther’ Is ‘The Worst Nightmare’ of the Film Industry, Says White Writer

“Black Panther”’s success “comes at the expense of other would-be event movies.”


According to one movie critic, it is “Black Panther”’s fault that other movies don’t have a chance to be No. 1.

That’s what one movie critic contends. Scott Mendelson, in a piece for Forbes, called the critically acclaimed, record-breaking film “the worst nightmare of an entire industry now” because it “won’t die.”

Mendelson’s piece was originally titled “Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Has Become Hollywood’s Worst Nightmare: An Event Movie That Hurts Or Kills Other Event Movies” but is now called “Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Should Terrify Every Hollywood Studio.”

Mendelson seems to separate “Black Panther” from other films, as if it should be placed in its own category and other movies should not be rated based off of it. According to Mendelson, “Black Panther”’s success “comes at the expense of other would-be event movies.”

“If this needs to be said, it’s great news for Black Panther and folks who liked Black Panther (and what its success represents), but it should give pause to the rest of the industry now set on dropping would-be tentpoles every other week or so,” Mendelson writes.

He says the movie’s success isn’t fair for other movies that would otherwise perform well at the box office:

“It’s impossible when one big tentpole becomes such an all-audiences favorite and crushes every other studios’ would-be event movie. We can’t know how well the last months worth of tentpoles would have performed if Black Panther had played like a ‘normal’ ($95 million Fri-Sun/$235m total domestic) MCU flick.”

In other words, it’s “Black Panther”’s fault that it has garnered so much success and that other movies that would perform above average should be given a chance. The studios that created the other movies are not responsible for their films not keeping up with “Black Panther”; rather, “Black Panther” is doing something wrong by outperforming other films.

Absolutely not, Twitter users argued.

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. 

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.

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.

“Black Panther” broke barriers as a movie with a Black director, Ryan Coogler, and a predominantly Black cast. DiversityInc’s Sheryl Estrada described the film as “exceptional in every aspect”:

“The multidimensional storyline highlights the future of African Americans and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the character of Shuri, brilliantly played by Letitia Wright. The beauty and grandness of African nations is celebrated through wardrobe, music and scenery. Themes of social justice are woven into the film. There’s even a parallel made between unity and disunity within the Black community.”

Mendelson has written similar reviews before, as he and others pointed out on Twitter, he did not receive the same kind of backlash.

“Maybe think about that and try to figure out why,” one Twitter user wrote. “Hint, you phrased a wildly successful black film that means a lot to people as its success being a negative because it surpassed all expectations and ‘won’t die.’”

Mendelson said his point of the post was “that [‘Black Panther’’s] overwhelming box office domination should give the studios pause in terms of year-round tentpole scheduling, as the post stated.”

A couple of users suggested Mendelson choose his words more carefully next time.

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. 

But what it is is a bad look. So go sit in a corner and think about why instead of trying to defend it. Take the L (now that you know what that means) and try to think about why you hit a nerve. You’re a writer. You should know words mean things and framing matters.

Mendelson is hardly the first critic of “Black Panther”’s unprecedented success. Conservative activist and radio talk show host Ben Shapiro said Black people should not be excited about “Black Panther” because slaves were already emancipated, Barack Obama served as president for two terms and Halle Berry starred in “Catwoman.” He called the hype over the film “incredibly stupid” and an example of “identity politics.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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  • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    This Shapiro seems to be floundering for ways to say “Racism doesn’t exist, so You People should shut up and quit whining” without being called on it.

    • Scott Mendelson

      That was not what I meant in the post (BP isn’t the blame, merely part of the cause, and yes there’s a difference), but “tiny frightened white man” does kinda apply (I’m pretty short). For the record, I liked the movie and have written about its success for many weeks. I’m sorry this is the one that went viral, but c’est la vie.

      • I am a little disturbed you felt you had relevancy to speak about it at all? what could possibly have led anything about Black Panther or Black people to be a concern of yours to the point where you would have an opinion, much less write about it? What is that?

  • Words matter and I believe Mendelson was very cognizant of his choice of words. I believe his intent was to diminish, denounce and dismiss the wildly huge international success of the Black Panther movie itself, those associated with bringing it to the screen and those actors who brought the film to life. This type of diatribe is typical of people (ie: racists) who are desperate to hold onto their coveted positions in the socio-economical space. If racism wasn’t so prevalent in the world today, Mendelson would be laughable. But, this is real. Oppressors want to continue to oppress by any means necessary.

    • Diana Lee McAnsh

      Agree, racist, biased, the whole gamut of white phobia. Having read this article twice I am now angry. For years movies had only white actors, then token darked skinned people were added. Now a dark skinned cast is made and Mendelson doesn’t like it. Ask all the dark skinned people why they should have to watch all ‘white’ casts in movies?

  • Hmmmm….that is like saying everyone should get a medal for participation, but the one that got the gold shouldn’t compete because the silver and bronze should have had gold too.

    If you want your movie to do as well as the best movie of the year, then you need to create a movie that is as good as the best one of the year.

    Raise your bar higher, open your eyes to what people want to see, and stop whining that you didn’t make all your millions.

  • Yeah, right, an excellent, wildly-successful, film that opens up new opportunities for Black filmmakers and broadens audience appeal is — somehow — a “nightmare.” Only to a White Supremacist who subscribes to the zero sum notion that any gain by African-Americans comes at the expense of a loss on the part of Whites.

    • Diana Lee McAnsh

      Don’t even like the term “African” put before American. This is a method of ‘otherising’ it keeps up the separation by skin colour. If you’re born in America you’re American. Same for ‘Mexican’ if you’re born in America you’re American. Nationalities put before American are symbols of oppression, of lumping people together by skin colour. It’s not acceptable.

      • In every measure of our society, we are already grouped by the visual attributes of who we are. Black, Brown, Asian, white.

        With very rare exception, only white people have this fantasy of not defining people.

  • Ben Shapiro verbally mastubates and gets himself and the extreme white right excited.
    This is his hustle and the less educated, all they do is listen to Rush- Fox and Friends and get told what to think and how to feel and reminded that their AR15 is there right and how dare we not put up a wall for illegal immigration when these same folks ancestors stole from native Americans and never squared away with those people
    Look, nobody credible would make such ignorant and decisive comments and. E considered legitimate.

  • Here it is: Mendelson’s article was a dog whistle for whites to stop going to see it and support any films like it. He was also sending a warning to the producers to not make a movie of color that will knock other white super hero films off the block. He needs to be fired for being a racist! There are enough people on this planet to support all types of movies.

  • Shocked, Not Shocked

    He seems to be saying: OK Black basketball players have enough success. Now sit down and allow short “white” players play…

  • Terry Phillips

    This man’s complaint rings in my ear from what my Cherokee Grandmother said…”Never forget who made, “Master Charlie, Massa”!!!! The Greatness of the African people is never ending……………………Bottom line!!!! There is no longer any need to continue to let “Massa”, be so blinded by HIS image.

  • No one has to watch their words. Everyone needs to grow a backbone and stop crying over words.

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