With an array of records set in its first four days, Disney-Marvel’s blockbuster sensation “Black Panther” is on the prowl for more box office milestones next weekend.
The superhero pic set a record for top Monday domestic gross ever, with $40.2 million, edging the previous high set by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $40.1 million. The four-day domestic haul is $242 million, second only to 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $288 million, aided by the fourth day being a holiday.
“Now that ‘Black Panther’ has set a new bar for what is possible over an opening weekend in February, all eyes will look toward what promises to rank among the biggest second weekend performances ever as positive word-of-mouth continues to spread and repeat viewers pounce back to the multi-plex,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.
“The potential for a second weekend near or over $100 million will put ‘Black Panther’ in the pantheon of films that benefited not only from great critical praise, but also an outpouring of support from audiences and an ongoing wave of enthusiasm that result in modest week to week box office drops and a quicker than average sprint to huge revenue milestones,” he added.
“Black Panther” is treading in rarified territory. It’s one of five movies to have opened above $200 million during its first Friday-Sunday, joining “The Force Awakens” at $248 million, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at $220 million, “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million and “The Avengers” at $207.4 million.
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All four of those films wound up among the six with more than $600 million in domestic grosses, a list that’s led by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $936.7 million, followed by “Avatar” at $760.5 million, “Titanic” with $659.4 million, “Jurassic World” with $652.3 million, “Avatar” with $623.4 million and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with $618.2 million.
The previous four films that opened with $200 million domestically had a wide range of second weekends, led by “The Force Awakens,” which declined 40% to $149 million; “Jurassic World” slid 49% to $106.6 million; “The Avengers” fell 50% to $103.1 million; and “The Last Jedi” plunged 67% to $71.6 million — the 13th highest second weekend. The fourth-highest second weekend took place last March when Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” scored $90.4 million off a 48% decline.
Three new films launch this weekend, but the outsized footprint of “Black Panther” is making mincemeat of January tracking forecasts for those films. Warner Bros.-New Line’s comedy “Game Night” is now projecting an opening in the $13 million to $20 million range at 3,000 locations while Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” should debut in the $9 million to $12 million area at 2,000 venues. Orion Pictures, MGM’s relaunched label, is opening its low-budget romance “Every Day” at about 1,625 sites with expectations of $3 million to $4 million.
“Game Night” stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams with John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein directing a story of a group of friends whose game night turns into a murder mystery. “Annihilation” stars Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Tuva Novotny. The film follows Portman’s biologist character on a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X — a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline.
The March 2-4 weekend will see the third weekend of “Black Panther” face two launches — Fox’s Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” tracking in the $18 million to $25 million range, and MGM’s “Death Wish,” with tracking between $15 million and $20 million. Top third weekend performances are “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with $90.4 million, “Avatar” with $68.5 million and “The Avengers” with $55.6 million.
International performance has been impressive so far with Disney reporting Monday that “Black Panther” had taken in $184 million, led by South Korea with $27.1 million and the U.K. with $26.7 million. And it has not yet opened in several major markets with Russia going on Feb. 22, Japan on March 1 and China on March 9.
Marvel titles have been playing strongly recently overseas, with “Thor: Ragnarok” taking in $583 million along with a $314 million domestic gross while “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” grossed $473 million internationally and $389 million domestically. Though conventional wisdom used to say that black-oriented films struggled outside the U.S., the massive cultural impact of “Black Panther” and the fact that it’s the first big-budget superhero movie of its kind on this scale make mean there’s no comparison to previous films targeted to black audiences.
With a stellar domestic start and a solid international launch so far, it’s quite probable that “Black Panther” will join the 32 films with $1 billion in worldwide business by the end of its run.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Daniel Kaluuya. Its success has given the U.S. box office a major lift with 2018 grosses up 7.3% to $1.64 billion as of Feb. 19.
Here are the domestic records set so far by “Black Panther”:
— biggest Monday of all-time: $40.2 million
— highest three-day debut ever for a February film: $201.8 million
— largest President’s Day weekend: $242 million
— largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener: $25.2 million.
— largest single-day gross for a solo superhero film: $60.1 million on Sunday
— highest-grossing title in an opening weekend for 150 AMC locations.