Dallas students surprised with free showing of Marvel's Black Panther

Students at an Oak Cliff middle school will go on a very special field trip to see Marvel’s Black Panther movie for free.

The superhero movie is the first film to fully feature a black superhero with an almost all black cast, a black director and black writers.

And for the folks to organized the trip for the middle school students, it will be a way for the pupils to see someone who looks like them having such a prominent representation on screen.

Based on a Marvel comics character, the king of fictional African country Wakanda, Black Panther is breaking advanced ticket sales records on Fandango and is outpacing every other superhero movie.

Internet movie guide Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 97 percent fresh rating.

A group of judges, lawyers and community leaders in Dallas spent their money to take the entire student body from D. A. Hulcy Middle School to a showing on Friday.

It's important for these kids to see these wonderful images that look like them,” said Dallas Judge Andrea Martin. “How often do we have a black superhero?"

Jonica Lockwood is the principal at Hulcy, and she took video as students were taken to the school auditorium to be given the good news. She says the school is using it as a teaching moment.

"When you look at the Black Panther in that he was a scientist — and we're a STEAM campus, science, engineering and technology — so we look at the technology and advancement of the culture,” she said.

Dallas ISD has agreed to bus all 662 people to a theatre in Lancaster. A fathers’ group, Black2Life, is planning an African-themed red carpet event for Friday's screening.

"We're going to have an African backdrop,” Martin explained. “The kids are going to be in African attire, hopefully going to have drummers, and hopefully have Hollywood in the hood."

"We want these kids to know there are superheroes in the community,” said Judge Kim Cooks. “They can be a superhero."

It's not just the actors. Many of the prominent people behind the scenes are African American.

Beyond the cultural milestone, critics agree Black Panther is by all accounts a really good movie.