51% of Americans have seen or want to see Black Panther 

This year’s Oscar Best Picture nominees are mostly unseen, with one big exception. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds one in three adults have seen Black Panther, including a clear majority of African-Americans.

Combining those who have seen Black Panther and those who say they want to see it finds a majority of the country interested, including 44% of whites and more than three in four black adults.  (One in four adults aren’t interested in any of the nominees.)

Black Panther was not only a blockbuster movie from the Marvel universe, but its principal acting roles and production team are nearly all African-American.  It takes place in a powerful African nation, so the racial differences in interest should not be a surprise.  Still, many white adults want to see it, and it has been available for nearly a full year.  It was released in theaters last February and has been available on video since May. 

No other movie comes close when it comes to having been seen by a third of the country.  Two other movies have piqued the interest of more than a third of the public.  Those films are Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born. Both of those movies appeal more to whites than to blacks.  They also appeal more to women than to men, especially A Star is Born.

Both of those moves were only released last fall, and only recently have become available for home viewing.  Their audience may increase dramatically from this: 51% of Americans would rather watch a movie in their home than go to a movie theater.

Two other Best Picture nominees, BlacKKKlansman and Green Book deal with racial issues.  So far, few have seen either and only a little more than a quarter overall have seen or are interested in seeing each.  There is a racial difference in desire to see the Spike Lee-directed BlacKKKlansman that doesn’t exist for Green Book, a film with a white Best Actor nominee (Viggo Mortensen) and in which the major black character (played by Mahershala Ali) is up for the Supporting Actor Award.

There is as much interest in Vice, a film about former Vice President Dick Cheney, as there is for BlacKKKlansman and Green Book.  But the interest is partisan.  Only 4% overall have seen the movie so far, and Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to be interested in viewing it.  The last two nominated films, The Favourite and Roma interest only one in five of the public.

The nomination of Black Panther may have increased overall attendance and viewership this year.  Only 4% have seen as many as four of the nominated movies.  54% have seen none of them.  Among those at least 65 years old, 70% have seen none of the nominated movies. 

Last year, in an Economist/YouGov poll conducted at approximately the same time as this week’s poll, two-thirds reported seeing none of the ten nominated films.  The difference in that percentage this year and last is especially noticeable among African-Americans.  Last year, half of African-Americans had seen none of the nominated films by early February; this year only a third have.

See the full toplines and tables results here.

Photo: Getty

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