By Ryan Velez
Black Panther just had a massive opening weekend, breaking several financial records and having a chance to be one of the biggest money makers in superhero movie history, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As of right now, it is poised to make $205 million-$210 million over the long Presidents Day weekend.
To put the numbers in perspective, the film made$75.8 million on Friday, the eighth-biggest day of all time. Friday’s gross includes $25.2 million in Thursday evening previews while playing in 4,020 theaters. Demographic break down shows that Black audiences played a huge role in getting the film to this point. On Friday, 37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American, while Caucasians made up the next largest group (36 percent), according to comScore. This is unheard of for the superhero genre, where Black people are closer to 15 percent of ticket buyers on average. Clearly, the advertising, as well as enlisting a who’s who of Black actors and a director did a great job in swaying Black moviegoers who may not otherwise be invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. Ryan Coogler is the movie’s director.
As of right now, Black Panther stands to easily have the top February record of all time, beating out another superhero movie, Deadpool, which made $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend. Not accounting for inflation, it may even have the top earning potential for a Marvel movie, which is currently held by The Avengers at $207.4 million. The projected 3-day take, $185 million, will mark the biggest opening by a Black director to date.
One major issue about Black-led films is that they can’t do well internationally, especially in the all-important Asian markets that movie studios are coveting. By all accounts, Black Panther is outperforming expectations here, too. The movie is opening in virtually every major market timed to its U.S. launch, with the exceptions of Russia, China, and Japan. The U.K., where Black Panther launched on Tuesday, leads so far with $14.4 million, followed by South Korea ($14.3 million), Australia ($4 million), Brazil ($3.8 million) and Taiwan ($3.5 million).
The movie also is proving to be a critical success, with a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing, as well as an A+ Cinemascore.