Wesley Snipes is overjoyed that a Black Panther movie is finally releasing in theaters. Getting the King of Wakanda onto the big screen hasn’t been an easy journey for Hollywood. Columbia Pictures attempted their own Black Panther adaptation in the early 1990s with Snipes in the lead role, but since they were having trouble finding an appropriate writer and director, Snipes ended up abandoning the project for Blade. And once that happened, it seemed like a Black Panther movie simply wasn’t in the cards.
Artisan Entertainment made their own attempt at a Black Panther movie in the early 2000s after they acquired the character rights from Columbia, but there wasn’t actual movement on the film until Marvel Studios got the rights back and started producing their own films (all set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe) in the mid-2000s. While it’s taken several years for that project to finally come to fruition – which is directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous superhero – it’s clear that it was well worth the journey, and Snipes couldn’t be happier.
Related: Marvel Didn’t Always Have Black Panther’s Character Rights
In an interview with Slate, Wesley Snipes expressed his undying enthusiasm for Marvel’s Black Panther movie, which he knows will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the filmmaking industry. Here’s what he said:
“Excited is definitely not the word. Overcome, overjoyed, clutch the pearls, I am ecstatic about it. I know what it’s going to do, the impact it’s going to have, not only on the minds of the community but on the industry and the minds of those who are now the new gatekeepers. When they see the money, that’s a wrap. It’s a wrap. It’s inevitable that it opens up new opportunities, it’s like dropping a load of seed in the mud. It’s going to grow. It’s going to grow.”
Black Panther is certainly breaking the mold for black superheroes, and the fact that it’s performing exceptionally well critically and is expected to perform exceptionally well commercially only furthers that hope Snipes has for the future. Black Panther is now tracking for a $165 million debut domestically, not only guaranteeing that it will break Deadpool‘s February opening record but also potentially land in the top 5 opening weekends of all-time for a superhero film. It’s also expected to reach at least $400 million at the U.S. box office, thus putting it in the top 10 domestic grosses ever for a superhero movie.
Black Panther is currently the highest-rated Marvel movie of all-time (97% on Rotten Tomatoes), and it’s already having somewhat of an impact on the industry as a whole. But how much of an impact Black Panther has in total will be determined in the near future once the film concludes its theatrical run.
More: All the Black Superhero Movies That Came Before Black Panther