Case Study: Universal Thematic Depth in Screenwriting - BLACK PANTHER

Black Panther, Depth, Depth in screenwriting, thematic, Thematic Depth, Universal Thematic Depth -

Case Study: Universal Thematic Depth in Screenwriting - BLACK PANTHER

For screenwriters looking to imbue their scripts with universal thematic depth, there’s a great example to look to. As the clock winds down on 2018, the number one movie of the year at the domestic box office in the USA is BLACK PANTHER.

BLACK PANTHER grossed 700 million dollars domestically. It grossed another 646 million in foreign markets. The film made well north of a literal billion dollars. It’s a smash hit by any possible definition. And it was a smash everywhere. The film made 100 million dollars in China. It made 28 million in Mexico. It made 42 million in South Korea.

What’s so impressive about BLACK PANTHER is that its themes are both universal and specific. For African-American audience members, certain elements of the story may hold greater weight, like the backstory of Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, or the visitation of T’Challa at the end of the film to open an outreach center. But anyone can appreciate the themes of this film.

Both T’Challa and Killmonger are living lives saddled with the sins of their fathers (a classic theme that has shown up in literature arguably since the birth of literature). T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, killed Killmonger’s father, N’Jobu.

That choice by T’Chaka set a path for both T’Challa and Killmonger. Both men have to grapple with their father’s legacies. That’s a universal theme. Parents and their children, and how the behavior of our parents shapes us as their children – audiences in China, Mexico, and South Korea can appreciate that just as much as audiences in the USA (and did, as we see from the box office numbers).

This is why universal themes are so important. Do you utilize universal themes in your screenwriting? Did you find the themes in BLACK PANTHER universal? Let us know your thoughts and comment below.

1 comment

  • GerardVof

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