Chadwick Boseman’s ’42’ returns to theaters this week following actor’s untimely death

By September 4, 2020 No Comments

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in ’42’ (Photo: Warner Brothers Pictures)

By Sharon Eberson
Pittsburgh Current Contributing Writer

As we mourn the death last week of actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43, we celebrate a man who pulled “Wakanda Forever” off pages and screens and into the lexicon of Black pride and honor.

Of course, it was “Black Panther” that catapulted Boseman into the stratosphere of superheroes. But it was the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” that launched the actor as a cinematic leading man who played real-life and larger-than-life heroes on screen.

Amid the outpouring of grief by Boseman’s admirers, ABC cleared a night of Sunday programming to show the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” and pay tribute to Boseman. And on Friday, movie chains such as AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark will begin bringing “42” back to the big screen.

Although the 2013 movie has been available to rent On Demand, it is the hope of theaters that affection for Boseman will help lure people back to movie theaters, which have reopened in recent weeks with fingers crossed and COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Also due in theaters is Christopher Nolan’s oft-delayed, time-twisting thriller “Tenet,” which grossed $53 million internationally last weekend.

AMC is said to be charging $5 to return to theaters for “42,” which represents a relative moment in time: the year of Robinson’s ascent as the first Black player in the Major Leagues. The movie also marked Boseman’s cinematic introduction as a man of quiet grace, with a coiled inner strength that he could spring into a crescendo of emotion and power.

Partly a Pittsburgh baseball story, “42” is one of many ways our city has played a part in Boseman’s too-short career, which extended to stage and the small screen.

There’s a lot to unpack in that ‘Burgh connection, including that “42” was produced by Steelers co-owner Thomas Tull.

Boseman made a memorable visit to the team’s Family Fest last summer when he was filming August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on the North Side, a short hike from Heinz Field.

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