'Black Panther' premiere draws celebration in Central Florida theaters

- The lines outside the AMC West Oak were filled with excitement Thursday night as residents lined up to be the first to see the latest Marvel movie that, to many, is more than another super hero flick.

The blockbuster "Black Panther" premiered Thursday night at theaters across the country. The Ocoee theater, like many, drew large crowds from the African-American community.

"I have been waiting four months since I saw the preview!" said Marlene Gillies. "Last summer it was Wonder Woman, girl power, this summer it's African-Americans. Oh, it's just the perfect timing."

The local chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a historically black fraternity, even raised the funds to bring 200 local and underprivileged kids to be at the opening that night.

Group leader Camara Williams said many of the kids otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see it, but they felt it was an important moment for the children.

"African history hasn't always been depicted as superhero or anything like that, so it's going to be different and I hope it's going to be jarring for them,” said Williams. "They're going to be able to take the presence of the character being a king, an intelligent character. Someone who's strong, someone who's respected and say you know, I can apply those same attributes to my life."

"Black Panther" has already received large critical praise and is expected to draw big numbers at the box office. Many are also calling it a milestone for African-Americans in film being a blockbuster lead by a black superhero, with a black director, and heavily rooted in black culture.
 

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