Black Panther movie toronto

Toronto just raised thousands of dollars for kids to see the Black Panther movie

Over $400,000 has now been raised for kids across the world to attend screenings of Marvel's hotly anticipated Black Panther, the first-ever film of its kind to feature a black leading character.

The movie, which hits theatres in Toronto on Friday, is being celebrated as a landmark achievement for cinema and black culture – one that New York-based philanthropist Frederick Joseph says that all children should have a chance to see.

"The release of Marvel's film the "Black Panther" is a rare opportunity for young students (primarily of colour) to see a black major cinematic and comic book character come to life," he wrote on a GoFundMe page created in January.

"This representation is truly fundamental for young people, especially those who are often underserved, unprivileged, and marginalized both nationally and globally." 

Joseph's fundraiser, set up to send disadvantaged kids in Harlem to the film, raised almost $50,000 alone over the course of one month – but hundreds of similar campaigns have since sprung up, raising much, much more as part of what's being called the #BlackPantherChallenge.

Several of these campaigns have taken root in Toronto, raising at least $20,000 for local children to see the movie.

The Black Business and Professionals Association, for starters, will be hosting more than 350 youth and family members/guardians at Cineplex Yorkdale to see the film thanks to over $15,000 worth of donations from community members. 

Another group of citizens in Toronto have raised nearly $2,000 for the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club to organize a screening on February 17th. 

"Toronto is recognized as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, yet we often see faces in our news and media that don't look like us," reads the description of that fundraiser, started by Kelsea W of North York. "Representation matters. Let's show the kids of Toronto why! 

The bar Bangarang in Little Italy is hosting a party this Thursday, the proceeds of which will be used to send students from  Nelson Mandela Park School to the film.

"We will be doing pay-what-you-can at the door, and additionally donating 10% of the bar's sales for the night, in addition to 50% of the sales of our drink special," reads that fundraiser's page. "However, not everyone will able to make it, so we've set up this gofundme for those who cannot."

Bangarang's GoFundMe has raised almost $1,600 in just four days.

In Hamilton, another #blackpantherchallenge fundraiser has almost reached its $5,000 goal, and donations show no sign of slowing down,

"As we prepare to watch the Wakandan King take the big screens, the reality in our city is that many kids will have to choose between their bus passes, or meals for the week, and watching this movie," wrote organizer Chukky Gerald Ibe on the Hamilton fundraiser's page.

"Let's come together to ensure every kid has the chance to see this Black Panther."

The film is sure to be a hit at the box office, either way, independent of any crowdfunding campaigns.

To date, the film's official teaser has been seen a staggering 35 million times

It already sold more presale tickets in the first 24 hours of sales than any other Marvel movie in history and, just today, was named "the most tweeted film of 2018."

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