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Read Ryan Coogler’s Touching Thank You Letter to Black Panther Audiences

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Director Ryan Coogler attends the 'Black Panther' BFI preview screening held at BFI Southbank on February 9, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Ryan Coogler.
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has penned a touching letter thanking everyone who came out to see his film in its record-shattering opening weekend. But it clearly wasn’t the film’s box office earnings that drove Coogler to compose a thank you—it was the reactions from audiences, who have dressed up, danced, flash mobbed, cried, and even proposed at screenings. “To see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters” moved Coogler and his wife to tears, he wrote.

Coogler had a huge hand in making Black Panther, having co-wrote and directed the film, but he credits his whole team for its success, and says audiences have given them the greatest gift: “The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.”

Here is the letter in full:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try.

Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believe in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film- But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters– often moved me and my wife to tears.

For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world– all before seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Sincerely,

Ryan Coogler

P.S. Wakanda Forever 

Read more in Slate about Black Panther.