As predicted, Marvel's Black Panther reigned at the weekend box office, raking in more than $192 million in U.S. and Canada theaters.
But the Hollywood blockbuster anchored by a black superhero did more than that. It became the film with fifth-highest-grossing debut — a watershed moment for a movie with an almost entirely black cast.
The hype was in full view Sunday at the Cinemark theater in Cedar Hill, where the popcorn lines nearly reached the main doors and moviegoers parked outside the theater doors to wait for the crowd from an earlier screening to clear.
Some were superhero-movie buffs; others, not so much. They brought their families to see the rise of Prince T'Challa of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation disguised as a "third-world country" to protect its wealth and resources. When T'Challa becomes king, he wrestles with a new enemy and the question of whether Wakanda should unveil itself so it can help others.
Here's what moviegoers said, before and after the film (no spoilers):
Charles Andrews, who was with his aunt, was already on his second screening of the movie, even though he said he wasn't an enthusiast of the Black Panther comic.
Lajan Dela, a high school senior from DeSoto, filtered into the theater with his grandmother, Jeanette Hogan, and Hogan's sister, Cynthia Dickson. Lajan and Hogan love superhero movies, but Dickson said she usually tries to avoid them.
Lisa Bethea of North Dallas wanted to see the movie with her parents. She said she grew up with comic books, wrestling and kung-fu movies thanks to the influence of her father.
Cedar Hill resident Mary Bethea, Lisa's mother, said she tagged along because of her husband.
Tonnette Yarbough saw the movie with her daughter, Jordan Webster, and the girl's godfather, Vincent Timmons. Yarbough called it "beautiful," and Timmons agreed that the film lived up to the hype.
Carlos Marquez of Cedar Hill enjoys Marvel movies and brought his wife, Nancy, and their children to the latest. The couple said they liked the film's strong female characters. In Black Panther, the king's personal bodyguards are all women. The ensemble also features T'Challa's sister, Shuri, a scientist, and his ex-girlfriend Nakia, a spy.
The Marquez's daughter, Sophia, prefers traditional Disney movies (Marvel is owned by Disney), but her father said he wanted to share this experience with the girl.
When Larry Fitcheard was asked if he's a superhero-movie fan, he pulled back his jacket to reveal a baseball shirt with a Superman logo. After watching Black Panther, he praised the writing, music and costume design.
Fitcheard said that at moments he even found himself rooting for the villain, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, whose tragic childhood propels his quest for revenge.
Fitcheard, who saw the movie with his family first, made plans to see it again a few hours later, this time with his girlfriend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.