Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the studio is considering a Black Panther addition at Walt Disney theme parks.
Released on February 16, Black Panther has already made significant waves in Hollywood, breaking records by not only becoming the highest-rated superhero movie on Rotten Tomatoes, but breaking box office records nearly every day since its release. So, considering the fact that Disney is already ushering in several franchise-focused theme parks like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, a Black Panther park doesn’t seem too far-fetched.
As reported by THR, during an investor conference with Wall Street analysts at Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York, Iger was asked if there have been any discussions regarding a theme park addition aimed at T’Challa’s home country Wakanda, to which he replied, “No. We haven’t had a chance to build a ride, though I’m sure there are people who are working on it.” Iger touched on the significance of Black Panther-related merchandise, saying, “I pretty much guarantee that this coming Halloween and even Christmas, you know you’ll be seeing a lot of Black Panther merchandise,” so the likelihood of capitalizing on the film’s success – as well as subsequent sequels – on a grand scale seems all the more likely.
Iger also touched upon the fact that Disney is essentially competing with itself. With 11 billion-dollar franchises, it’s no wonder they’re very pick-and-choose with the franchises they pair with theme parks, but considering the fact that Black Panther is on its way to joining Disney’s Billion Dollar Club, it’s fair to assume that fans will eventually get the chance to be one with Wakandan culture. However, despite already breaching the $700 million mark internationally, the only major hurdle standing between Black Panther and its own theme park is Disney’s plan for the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Disney theme parks are already in the process of incorporating Marvel characters into their parks, so if Wakanda was to hypothetically earn a spot alongside landmarks like Magic Kingdom and Epcot, it would likely exist within the confines of an expansive Marvel-inspired park, not as a singular domain. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek announced at the D23 Japan Expo that Disney parks around the world will start featuring major Marvel characters from the films. However, in terms of a standalone Marvel park, Disney is currently only in the process of creating two individual rides, including one for Spider-Man and one for The Avengers. Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! was the first of Disney’s theme park transition toward Marvel properties.
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