The entire world is buzzing about Black Panther, and now the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, has responded to the excitement by thanking fans in a touching message.

“I’m struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment, but I will try,” Coogler said in the note, which was shared by Marvel via Twitter.

“Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up [of] amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story,” he continued. “Deep down we all hoped that people would come to see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of a cast of people of African descent.”

People are indeed going to see it — in record numbers. The film took in $426.6 million worldwide in just four days and has quickly become a cultural phenomenon.

“Never in a million years did we imagine that you would all come out this strong,” Coogler wrote. “It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film — but to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobby of theaters — often moved me and my wife to tears.”

The 31-year-old filmmaker continued, “For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world — all before seeing even seen the film… To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out… And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends… Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.”

He finished with a perfectly apt postscript: “Wakanda Forever.”

Have you seen Black Panther yet? We’d love to hear your review @BritandCo!

(photos via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney + Marvel Studios)