“Black Panther,” Disney-Marvel’s latest outing starring Chadwick Boseman, is set to debut far above early forecasts with $210 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend from 4,020 North American locations.
The barrier-breaking superhero film, set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda and featuring a nearly all-black cast, was first projected to bring in between $100 and $120 million. As its wide release date drew closer, however, tracking estimates began to balloon, and its record-breaking Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film. Its Friday total, including Thursday’s previews, reached almost $76 million, marking the eighth-highest opening day ever and third largest for Marvel, according to comScore.
“Black Panther” will set the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend opening as well, bowling over “Deadpool’s” 2016 record of $152 million. The film has also done well overseas, where it has grossed around $80 million since it began screenings Tuesday in several major markets such as the U.K., Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
The film has also set records on the theater level, with 33 AMC locations reporting that their screenings of “Black Panther” on Thursday and Friday plus advanced tickets sales alone have earned more than any other film’s Thursday through Sunday revenue. A spokesman for AMC said they expect the number of locations where “Black Panther” has set records to increase through the four-day weekend.
The film centers on Boseman as King T’Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society endowed with a store of vibranim, and the conflict with Michael B. Jordan’s Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star. Ryan Coogler directed the film on a $200 million budget. It’s received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012’s “The Avengers.”
In second place for the President’s Day weekend is Sony’s “Peter Rabbit,” which should bring in $22 million from 3,275 domestic locations for the four-day weekend, yielding a domestic total of roughly $53 million. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the titular rabbit, along with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Peter’s sisters. Domhnall Gleeson stars as the heir to Mr. McGregor’s property, with Rose Byrne as the kindly neighbor Bea.
The second weekend of Universal’s “Fifty Shades Freed” will nab third place with $18 million from 3,768 locations for the Friday through Monday period. The erotic romance stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele — now Mrs. Grey. Its Friday through Sunday total ($16 million) marks a 57% decline from its opening weekend. The film has earned $161 million worldwide in its first eight days.
In fourth is Sony’s surprise hit “Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle,” which is expected to reel in $10 million in its ninth weekend. The film spent four weekends at no. 1 after playing second fiddle to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” during its first two weekends in theaters. The weekend should bring its domestic total to almost $380 million.
Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris” is set to take fifth, with $9 million from 3,042 locations. The Warner Bros. venture features the three men who stopped an attempted terrorist attack on a European train as themselves. The film has grossed almost $30 million worldwide in its first eight days in theaters.
Nick Park’s “Early Man” also debuted this weekend in the U.S. at no. 7, and is set to bring in about $5 million from 2,494 North American locations. The British film, which is being distributed in the United States via Lionsgate, utilizes the voice talents of Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Eddie Redmayne, and Maisie Williams. The film was released Jan. 26 in the U.K. and has grossed nearly $11 million in foreign markets.