An online crowdfunding effort turned a social media hashtag into a movement that has already let tens of thousands of kids see Marvel’s latest superhero movie for free.
About 200 of those kids (plus a few chaperones) saw “Black Panther” at Regal Natomas Marketplace Stadium 16 thanks to a worldwide effort, dubbed #BlackPantherChallenge, that prompted community members to pay for their tickets and concessions via websites like GoFundMe.
The Sacramento fundraising effort had collected $4,000 as of Saturday afternoon toward its $5,500 goal set by Cyrus Mulitalo, who organized the private 1 p.m. screening. According to the webpage, Mulitalo “teamed up with fellow Sac St alum Ronald Richardson, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Omicron Eta Chapter and the Grant Jr Pacers.”
Mulitalo, a mortgage loan officer according to his social media accounts, shared his excitement for the outing via an Instagram video. In it, excited children and teens gather outside the theater before the showing.
The worldwide campaign is also documented on GoFundMe. New York resident Frederick Joseph reportedly started the movement by raising more than $40,000 to let Harlem children see the superhero movie in theaters. The global GoFundMe page claims that more than $400,000 has been donated by at least 10,000 people in 40 different countries.
Director Ryan Coogler, a Sacramento State alumnus and former student-athlete, has seen enormous praise heaped upon “Black Panther” since its Friday wide release.
With some critics calling it the best Marvel movie to date, it maintains a 97 percent “certified fresh” score on review site Rotten Tomatoes. The film features a predominantly black cast and focuses on T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, who succeeds his father as king of the fictional African country Wakanda.
“Let’s keep pushing forward. If you’re a teacher, buy tickets for your entire classroom,” Joseph said in a statement. “If you’re a coach, take your team. If you're a community leader, do some organizing and get the kids and parents in your community to the theater.”