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‘Black Panther’ Bounds Toward Huge $150 Million Presidents Day Weekend Opening

Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” is heading for as much as $150 million in its North American opening on the four-day Presidents Day weekend, updated tracking is showing.

That’s significantly above the first tracking on Jan. 25 for the Chadwick Boseman tentpole, which initially placed the debut in the $100 million to $120 million range for the Feb. 16-19 period. “Black Panther” could break the Presidents Day weekend record of $152 million, set in 2016 by “Deadpool.” It will easily top the second-highest debut for  the four-day holiday, set in 2015 when “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened with $93 million.

“Black Panther” has been gaining steam this week. Fandango reported Wednesday that “Black Panther” is outpacing all superhero movies in advance ticket sales for Fandango’s online tickets service, eclipsing 2016’s “Batman v Superman.” It topped Fandango’s daily ticket sales in the wake of its world premiere and first screenings two days earlier.

The newest tracking showed total awareness of “Black Panther” at 88%, unaided awareness at 43%, and definite interest at 57%. Boseman stars as T’Challa, who takes over as the king of Wakanda after his father T’Chaka is killed, as shown in “Captain America: Civil War.” The film also stars Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Michael B. Jordan. Ryan Coogler directed the movie from a script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole.

Initial tracking on Thursday also showed that Warner Bros.’ comedy “Game Night” is projecting an opening in the $15 million to $20 million range on Feb. 23-25, while Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” should debut in the $12 million to $15 million area during the same weekend.

Game Night,” directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams and follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a murder mystery. Supporting cast includes Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, and Jeffrey Wright.

Annihilation,” based on Jeff VanderMeer’s horror sci-fi novel, is directed by Alex Garland from his own script. The story follows a biologist, played by Natalie Portman, who embarks on a four-person expedition into a territory cut off from civilization while searching for clues about her husband’s disappearance. While there, she must deal with a contamination, vanishing colleagues, a deadly animal, and a creature known as the Crawler. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson also star.

Paramount made a deal with Netflix in December for the streaming service to handle the international release of  “Annihilation.”

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