The studio estimates are in, and there’s plenty of reason to celebrate – especially if you’re a Marvel accountant – as the landmark superhero picture Black Panther is roaring into a record-setting $192 million opening.
Here’s the records we’re currently looking at:
- It’s the biggest February opening of all time
- It’s on pace to become the highest grossing film directed by a black filmmaker, certainly domestically, and has a good chance of topping the current record-holder worldwide (The Fate of the Furious presently holds that title with a 1.2 billion worldwide gross)
- It’s the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever, not accounting for inflation – in February of all months, hardly the home of big grosses.
- It’s the second biggest opening for a Marvel Studios film, placing it behind only the first Avengers (207 million), and squeaks it ahead of Age of Ultron‘s (191 million).
That Black Panther is playing on the same ball-field as the biggest money-makers within the Marvel Studios brand really speaks to not only the excitement surrounding what is an impeccably-made piece of popcorn entertainment, but also the hunger for a film that puts a cast of black actors front and center. Representation matters, and much like with Wonder Woman last year, you can just follow the money for the all the proof you need. As I covered in my review earlier this week, I can only hope this will be a wake-up call to Hollywood, and more and more diverse tentpoles will become the norm.
Counting the entire four-day President’s Day weekend of movie-going, Black Panther is looking to hit around $218 million domestically. Wow! Another home-run for the studio, but what it stands for is even bigger than that.
Also, between this and Creed, there’s a really good argument to be made for Ryan Coogler’s status as the best franchise filmmaker working today. I can’t wait to see what he does next.