FERGUSON, Mo. – Marvel's Black Panther is breaking box office records and 30 McCluer South-Berkeley High School students are seeing what the all hype is about.
Friday, they went on a field trip to watch the movie at Galleria 6 Cinemas. Ferguson police officer Dequincy Howard said none of the students in the group had seen it before.
"A kid approached me and stated that he really wanted to see the movie Black Panther," Howard said. "Not having the money to view the movie, it was hard for him to go see it."
Howard is a school resource officer alongside Officer Michelle Merriwether, who is also from the Ferguson Police Department. The boy's story inspired them to treat the group to the movie.
"I donated $200 of my own money," Howard said. "My chief also donated a big amount of money."
Within just one week, other officers and teachers donated their own money, too.
On top of that, Galleria 6 Cinemas sold movie tickets at a discounted rate of $5 per person. It also sold snacks, which included popcorn, candy, and a beverage, at a discounted rate of $5 per person.
"I've been wanting to watch Blank Panther for a long time," senior Antonio Nelson said. "It was sold out."
Nelson and his friend, Brandy Williams, are athletes with good grades.
"I was very honored that I got picked out of all these students in the school," Williams said.
Nelson is a little more into superheroes than Williams but they both say they love Black Panther.
"This is a movie for the culture," Williams said.
"That's empowerment," Nelson added.
Howard saw the movie the weekend it was released.
"Based on the community I serve, for an African-American child to see a black superhero is big time," he said.
As students and officers take in the movie's themes, they're strengthening their relationship with each other.
"Right now, you see a police officer and you're like, 'I don't want to be by him,'" Nelson said. "Not me personally but that's how some people view things. So, for him to do this, it makes them think, hey, they're not as bad as you think they are."