HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's being hailed as a cultural moment. Black Panther has hit the theaters.
Since the debut of Iron Man in 2008, 17 movies in the main Marvel Comics canon have been released. Every high flyer, strong man, and web-slinger in the starring role has been white.
It's such a shift that a local company is giving almost 100 people the chance to see the movie this weekend for free.
"It was about five years ago, and once I dug in I really got the story and I was excited. So when I saw the movie was coming you know I got even more excited about it." David Daniels says the movie is sending a positive message with a black hero and black supporting cast taking center stage.
"Unfortunately a lot of times we see, you know in a lot of media and things of that nature, that African-Americans aren't always portrayed in the most positive light, we feel," said Daniels
That's the exact reason Daniels and others at his company SneakerPhetish saw an opportunity to give back to the Huntsville community -- by buying out a movie theater and allowing people to see the movie for free.
"The original idea was to sponsor like 10 tickets or something," explained Daniels. "We wanted to do something so the movie was so monumental. We thought about it and said, 'Why don't we do it as big as we possibly can?'"
Daniels says they were wanting to reach out to the youth, and give them an opportunity to see a black superhero. "There's a superhero out there that looks like them, talks like them, acts like them."
He wants children of all races to have hope and pride after watching the film.
It's a message the stars of the film all can agree with.
"This is an amazing moment not because it is just a superhero movie but because it is a superhero movie on this stage," said Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. "Marvel put so much into it, we put so much into it and it's a movie about something."
All of the tickets bought were out of Daniels' and his fellow workers' own pockets. They just wanted to do something to give back.
Daniels says all of the tickets for the free screening on Sunday are gone, but his company is always trying to find new ways to give back to the Huntsville community.