‘Black Panther’ Obliterates The Box Office With $218 Million Opening Weekend
In a defining moment for Hollywood, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther exploded at the Presidents Day box office, bounding to a record-shattering $192 million for the three-day weekend and a projected $218 million-plus for the four-day holiday.
The Ryan Coogler-directed movie — unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast — secured the fifth-biggest domestic opening of all time, and the best of any superhero film behind fellow Marvel title The Avengers, which earned $207.4 million in its first three days, not accounting for inflation. It’s still possible that Black Panther could best Avengers’ four-day gross of $226.3 million if Sunday and Monday estimates prove conservative (some rival studios show a four-day total of $222 million-$225 million).
Other records broken include the biggest opening for an African-American director, the top-scoring superhero film on Rotten Tomatoes (97 percent) and biggest February bow, supplanting previous champ Deadpool, which took in $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend in 2016.
Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther was fueled by a diverse audience. According to comScore,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American. Caucasians made up the next largest group (35 percent), followed by Hispanics (18 percent). That sort of demo breakdown is unheard of for a marquee superhero tentpole. On average, African-Americans make up about 15 percent of the audience for such fare.
Black Panther, costing $200 million to make before marketing, was a bold move on the part of Disney and Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Now, it has become yet another victory for both.
In the film, Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. The story, described as a tale of black power and black pride in addition to its superhero themes, follows T’Challa as he is sworn in as king of Wakanda, a cloaked, technologically advanced nation in Africa that’s home to the exotic metal vibranium, the source of Black Panther’s powers.
Audiences bestowed Black Panther with an A+ CinemaScore; the only other Marvel title to earn an A+ was Avengers.
Black Panther hits theaters almost a year after Jordan Peele’s maverick horror film, Get Out, transformed into a box-office sensation, although that was a genre pic. And in summer 2017, filmmaker Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman became the highest-grossing live-action film from a female director.
Overseas — where American films with a black cast can face challenges — Black Panther opened in virtually every major market save for Russia (Feb.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]22), Japan (March 1) and China (March 9). The movie earned a mighty $169 million for a global bow of $387 million through Monday, including a hefty $52 million from Imax locations around the world.
The only movies daring to open nationwide opposite Black Panther were Lionsgate and Aardman Animation’s family film Early Man and PureFlix’s faith-based pic Samson, which looks to take in only $2 million.
Early Man placed No.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]7 with an estimated four-day gross of $4.2 million from 2,492 theaters. Samson came in No.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]11 with an estimated $2.4 million from 1,249 cinemas.
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