Southwest Philly kids get to see ‘Black Panther’ for free

The sold-out Marvel movie is breaking box office records.

Becoming a superhero at Francis Myers Rec Center

Becoming a superhero at Francis Myers Rec Center

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
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The new Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” is selling out across the country, but a group of kids from Southwest Philly will get to see it Friday night, for free.

Staff at the Francis Myers Recreation Center in Kingsessing organized the movie night as the culminating event of a weeklong slate of programs inspired by the Ryan Coogler-directed film.

“Black Panther” has been hailed as the first Hollywood comic book blockbuster with a predominantly black cast led by a black hero. The character, also known as T’Challa, debuted in print back in 1966 as part of the Fantastic 4 series. Comic artist Jack Kirby has been quoted as saying he came up with the figure “because I realized I had no blacks in my strip.”

It seems American audiences were craving a black superhero as well.

The Thursday preview night box office for “Black Panther” is being estimated at $25 million, putting it on par with “Captain America: Civil War” and beating “The Hunger Games.” This was predicted by pre-sales, which were the fourth highest ever recorded, per Fandango, coming in just after the three recent Star Wars films.

Many of the presale tickets were purchased in groups, by schools, activist organizations, church groups — and community centers like Francis Myers.

Capes and masks at Francis Myers Rec Center

Capes and masks at Francis Myers Rec Center

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

As part of “My Super Hero is Black: Super Hero Week at Myers,” kids at the Southwest Philly rec center discussed what makes a hero a hero, designed costumes for themselves and took on “super hero training” via obstacle courses.

On Feb. 16, Philadelphia Parks & Rec staff will take the kids in a van to Studio Movie Grill in Upper Darby for a 6 p.m. screening of the movie. The cost of the tickets was covered by the Myers Recreations Advisory Council.