“How big of a Blockbuster is Black Panther (So Far)?” by S.M. O’Connor

      The Walt Disney Studios announced that the Marvel Studios film Black Panther (2018) made $201,800,000 at the American box office over its first three days, which made it one of the top-five domestic openings in cinematic history.  Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, a super hero and king of the fictional African country of Wakanda, a character introduced in Captain America: Civil War (2016).   The film grossed over $242,000,000 over the President’s Day Weekend,[1] which gave it the second-biggest four-day domestic opening weekend in cinematic history.  Further, the film grossed an additional $169,000,000 overseas, with the result it had grossed $370,000,000 around the world through Sunday, February 18, 2018 and $427,000,000 around the word through Monday, February 19, 2018.  Black Panther is just the fifth film to gross $200,000,000 or more in its debut weekend.  It is the fourth Disney film to do so after Lucasfilm’s Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) and Marvel’s The Avengers (2012).  Now, Disney has eight of the top-ten domestic debuts in cinematic history, five of which were produced by Marvel Studios.  The film set a domestic February preview record of $25,200,000, grossed $75,800,000 on its first day, followed by the fourth-biggest Saturday in cinematic history with $65,900,000, the second-best Sunday in cinematic history with $60,100,000 (behind only The Force Awakens), and the biggest Monday in cinematic history with $40,200,000.  Black Panther is the eighteenth #1 debut out of eighteen releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (M.C.U.) and the ninth M.C.U. release to open above $100,000,000.  It opened day and date with North America in almost 70% of the marketplace, with #1 debuts in virtually all territories and with strong openings in the U.K. and South Korea.  In the U.K. and Eire (the Republic of Ireland) the film set a new February opening weekend record (including previews) and has already made more money than entire runs of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), Ant-Man (2015), and Iron Man (2008).  In South Korea, Black Panther was the fifth-biggest Western-made film in cinematic history and has already grossed more money than whole runs of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Ant-Man.  The film opened in Russia on Thursday, February 22, 2018 and will open in Japan on Thursday, March 1, 2018 and in China on Friday, March 9, 2018.  Disney reported Black Panther earned an A+ CinemaScore from audiences and had an exceptional 97% Certified Fresh aggregate critics score on RottenTomates, the highest-ever for a Marvel film.

Variety’s Dave McNary reported yesterday that Black Panther grossed $83,800,000 during its second weekend in approximately 83% of international markets, which brought it to $304,000,000 in foreign markets.  This brings it to $704,000,000 worldwide.  It is now the tenth-largest Marvel film, and has already surpassed Doctor Strange (2016) and Ant-Man.  The movie is a big hit in Great Britain and South Korea.  In the U.K., Black Panther has grossed $41,200,000 and in South Korea, it has grossed $36,000,000.  Meanwhile, the film opened exclusively in the IMAX/Deluxe format in the Russian Federation on February 22nd and has grossed $2,600,000 thus far, which is comparable with what Thor: Ragnarok (2017) made.  It went into wide release today, Monday, February 26, 2018.  In Vietnam, it grossed $2,500,000, including previews, the fifth-biggest debut weekend in cinematic history.  The gross for Black Panther rose 7% in its second weekend in the West African market.  However, it declined 4% in South Africa, but that was still the third-biggest weekend at the South African box office after the debut weekends of Black Panther itself and The Fast and the Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious (2017).  In European markets, the film declined 34% overall.  It declined 19% in Switzerland, 22% in Finland and France, 23% in Sweden, 24% in Austria and The Netherlands, 35% in Germany, 36% in the U.K., and 45% in Italy.  The film declined by 54% in the Asia-Pacific markets overall.  It declined by 34% in Australia, 39% in New Zealand, 40% in Hong Kong, and 48% in Taiwan and Singapore.

Today, McNary reported Black Panther grossed $111,700,000 in North America over the weekend – $3,700,000 above yesterday’s estimates.  It grossed $28,800,000 on Friday, $47,600,000 on Saturday, and $35,300,000 on Sunday.  The ten-day domestic total was $403,600,000.  It declined 45% in its second weekend, for the second-highest second weekend in cinematic history, behind only The Force Awakens at $149,000,000.  The movie is the twenty-sixth-highest grosser in cinematic history, behind Spider-Man (2002) by $100,000, which is funny because that was another film about a Marvel Comics super hero, but that one was made under license by Sony.  McNary noted that the film is performing much better than expected.  The forecast was an opening in the $100-to-$120 million range.  Next weekend, Black Panther will be competing against two films in their opening weekend, 20th Century Fox’s Red Sparrow (2018), starring Jennifer Lawrence, and M.G.M.’s Death Wish (2018), starring Brice Willis.  [The latter is a remake of Death Wish (1974), which starred Charles Bronson (1921-2003), and was itself an adaptation of Brian Garfield’s novel of the same name that had been published in 1972.]  The forecast for Red Sparrow is an opening weekend of $18-to-$25 million and the forecast for Death Wish is an opening weekend of $15-to-$20 million.



[1] There actually is no such holiday as “President’s Day.”  In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (1968) to provide for uniform annual observances of national civil holidays to assure three-day-long weekends.  One provision of the law was that George Washington’s Birthday, which had been a national holiday since 1885, would be celebrated on the third Thursday in February.  In 1971, President Richard Millhouse Nixon referred to the holiday as “President’s Day” and ever after popular culture has treated it as a holiday that commemorated the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

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