One movie theater employee's mistake is now an internet user's dream. According to Mashable, an Atlanta theater accidentally played Fifty Shades Freed instead of Black Panther on Thursday, and the response from dumbfounded moviegoers was absolutely spot-on. People roared with laughter and yelled out in disbelief. One person said, "It's the opposite movie! No!" and another shamelessly yelled, "What are we doing?" This is what happens when one turns up to witness the most revolutionary black superhero movie of all time, and instead is front row at Christian Grey's Hallmark Channel wedding. (Bustle has reached out to Regal Cinemas for comment on the mix-up, but did not receive an immediate response.)
It's true that the two films probably couldn't be more opposite. And, of all scenes, Fifty Shades Freed opens with a wedding montage to the upbeat pop song "Capital Letters" by Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop. It's certainly a face palm moment for any viewer anticipating epic battle in the fictional land of Wakanda.
For a bit of context on the romantic drama, The Atlantic's "spoilereview" of Fifty Shades Freed described the movie as "another sequel so awful that it needs to be described in detail to be believed." (Although, there's obviously nothing wrong with enjoying a Fifty Shades flick.) On the flip side, there's Black Panther, deemed a "revolutionary power" by Time. Thankfully, one of the audience members captured the mixup moment in two Twitter videos that could be watched on repeat and remain just as entertaining each time.
The videos transport anyone watching straight into the awkwardness of the theater. So many people blurted out questions and statements to understand what the heck was going on. Others remained silent, probably seriously questioning if they were in the right theater. Of course, those attendees were among others who shamelessly laughed out loud, almost enjoying the mixup. One voice can be heard repeatedly saying "No, no, no," and chuckling. You may actually have FOMO.
Fifty Shades Freed is the third and last installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise — movie adaptations of E.L. James' novels. While it still has loyal fans, the film hasn't been received very well by critics. The Atlantic's Christopher Orr said Freed is so vanilla sex-wise that "your most conservative grandparent is probably getting bored" watching. The final chapter of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele's (Dakota Johnson) love story has also been referred to as the ending of a "trilogy of trash" by Rex Reed from Observer. But one SF Gate writer, Mick LaSalle, has also encouraged people to "say a nice few things" about Fifty Shades Freed, supporting those who enjoy the films.
Still, what the audience was expecting was an action film, the highly anticipated and game-changing Black Panther, which premieres this weekend. It stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, the Black Panther, alongside a lineup of A+ actors including Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya, and Angela Bassett. The story chronicles T'Challa's journey to stake his claim as king of his African nation after the death of his father.
Publications have praised the power of this movie, which will likely go down in film history for moving the needle and showcasing black superheroes on screen. Rolling Stone's Tre Johnson described the Black Panther experience and why it will continue to be so powerful for the future of blockbuster films:
"Watching a black superhero fully in control and completely occupying the center-stage spotlight... signals a new era for black superheroes — and superhero movies at large."
Time magazine has also explained why Black Panther is a "major milestone" in pop culture. "What seems like just another entry in an endless parade of superhero movies is actually something much bigger," Jamil Smith from Time wrote. "It hasn’t even hit theaters yet and its cultural footprint is already enormous. It’s a movie about what it means to be black in both America and Africa — and, more broadly, in the world."
So, yeah, these two films probably couldn't be more different, and it's actually slightly surprising no one threw anything at the screen.