Marvel’s Black Panther is set to rewrite the record books during its opening weekend. February is typically a modest month at the box office, but one major exception to that rule was Deadpool in 2016. Even though the raunchy superhero comedy was R-rated, not released in 3D, and banned in the lucrative market of China, it was a monumental success, earning $783.1 million worldwide against a $58 million budget. In terms of the domestic numbers, the film’s three-day debut of $132.4 million blew the previous mark ($85.1 million by Fifty Shades of Grey) out of the water. For the four-day Presidents Day weekend that year, Deadpool made an astonishing $152.1 million.
It’s long been expected Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther would rival, if not surpass, those figures. The 18th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the industry’s biggest franchise) has long been one of the most anticipated films of the year. Much like last year’s Wonder Woman, it’s seen by many as a watershed moment for the genre, giving it more of an “event” feel than other standalone MCU movies. In addition to representing Marvel’s next step forward in regards to diversity, Panther simply is a tentpole that lived up to the hype. Reviews for the film are universally positive, with everything from the performances to the themes garnering heavy praise. And that acclaim is going to parlay into an enormous opening weekend.
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Per Box Office Pro, Black Panther is projected to gross a whopping $181.5 million over the extended holiday weekend. That number is substantially higher than tracking from earlier this week, which suggested Panther would earn $165 million during Presidents Day. The film’s box office prospects have long been stellar as it’s broken multiple Fandango records in terms of ticket pre-sales. Estimates suggest Black Panther will earn at least $400 million for its domestic run, which would make it the only MCU film not featuring Iron Man to hit that mark.
There are numerous factors at play for why the gap between Panther and Deadpool is so noticeable (and may grow larger by the end of the weekend). For starters, Black Panther – like most of its MCU brethren – is rated PG-13 and is playing in 3D. That means it should reach a wider audience and will bring in more money from the premium ticket prices. Also, it looks as if there’s more interest in Black Panther than there was in Deadpool. Coogler’s latest is the most-tweeted about film in the early stages of 2018 and has generated “33 percent more relevant” conversations on social media than the Ryan Reynolds vehicle. Box Office notes Twitter activity for Panther is in the ballpark of 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opened with $155 million that December. It’s no wonder Kevin Feige is hoping to bring Coogler back for a Black Panther sequel.
It goes without saying T’Challa is going to steamroll the “competition.” Elsewhere at the top of the charts, family film Peter Rabbit looks to come in second with $22 million and Fifty Shades Freed will fall to third with $18.2 million. The weekend’s other wide release, animated movie Early Man, is projected to bring in only $6.5 million for the four-day weekend despite the positive reviews.
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Source: Box Office