This summer marks a full two decades since Wesley Snipes first took to the screen head to toe in black leather with sword in hand as the super-powered vampire hunter Blade – and blockbuster cinema hasn’t been the same since.

Not that the Blade movies were, by modern standards, bona fide blockbusters. Produced on comparatively mid-range budgets ($45-$65 million), the R-rated trilogy saw global box office returns totalling $415 million; less than a single studio tent pole movie is typically expected to make in order to be declared a hit today.

However, it’s debatable as to whether many of the biggest box office hits of the last 20 years would have happened at all, had Blade not laid the groundwork for them.

One major upcoming movie whose roots can be traced back to Blade is The Black Panther. Back in the mid-1990s, way before Chadwick Boseman landed the role of Wakanda’s sovereign protector, actor and producer Snipes had a Black Panther movie in development.

Who knows how that would have turned out, had the project gained momentum – but there’s no question that the other Marvel Comics character Snipes brought to the screen had a very significant impact.

So just how did the Blade movies change the game, you ask? Well, let’s break it down for you now…

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