Towson theater cancels 'Black Panther' opening night screenings, leaving moviegoers frustrated

Scores of potential “Black Panther” fans left a Towson theater angry and disappointed Thursday night, after multiple screenings of the much-anticipated movie were canceled because of what they were told were technical problems.

Several planned opening-night screenings of the movie were canceled at the Cinemark Towson movie theaters on Joppa Road, moviegoers said. Disappointed fans were offered passes for future screenings.

“There was a lot of cussing. From myself and others,” Jeanine Carter, a 33-year-old paralegal living in Rosedale, wrote in an email.

Her brother had bought the tickets on Tuesday, and when he asked her if she was interested in going, her response, she wrote, was “HELL YEAH.”

“People were just bummed and some standing around like they didn't know what to do next,” Carter wrote. “It wasn't the cashiers’ fault the movie wasn't available but they got an earful from everyone.They looked defeated and exhausted; I felt bad.”

Representatives for Cinemark, a national chain based out Plano, Texas, did not respond to requests for comment Friday morning. A Cinemark representative said on Saturday that all showtimes starting at 9:20 p.m. Thursday played as scheduled, with no interruptions on Friday.

Henry Kenney, a 21-year-old University of Baltimore student living in West Baltimore, said in an email that the audience was first told there would be a 20-30 minute delay. After 45 minutes, he said, theater employees came in to say that "due to a glitch in the system all showings of 'Black Panther' would be cancelled."

“I bought my ticket early January, as soon as they were available,” Kenney wrote. “I was very anxious to see the movie, waited for months for this night!”

Fortunately, Kenney wrote, he had bought tickets to a Saturday morning “Black Panther” screening at the same theater.

“Hopefully the same problems won't exist," he wrote.

Tabitha Morgan, a 22-year-old college student and dietary aide living in Parkville, wrote in an email that she was thrilled to score a pair of tickets last week to opening night, and the pre-show atmosphere at the theater only heightened her anticipation

"I was very pumped to go see the movie. Like ever since I first seen Angela Basset styling silvery white dreads, I knew I had to go see it,” she wrote. “Once we arrived in Towson and just seeing people with African print skirts, dashikis, and Black affirmation shirts, I was so excited.”

Once the announcement was made that the movie wouldn’t be showing, she wrote, it was "like all the anticipation built up for possibly the biggest Marvel movie then boom, you can’t see. It’s a huge let down and it makes the movie theater look really bad."

“Black Panther,” which has been setting advance ticket sale records in the weeks leading up to its release, is the story of King T’Challa of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African kingdom that has zealously hidden its wealth and technology from the outside world. Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, it is the first big-budget superhero movie to both focus on a black character and to celebrate its African roots.

Many disgruntled moviegoers took to social media to express their disappointment Thursday night.

ckaltenbach@baltsun.com

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