Well, well, well, well, well. Look who’s finally starting to come around to ol’ Jude Terror‘s view of Black Panther’s box office potential. That’s right, it’s the rest of the entertainment media. There’s something we like to say in these situations. What was it again? Well, we’re sure it will come to us.
Two weeks ago, Bleeding Cool asked the question: could Black Panther’s opening weekend be the biggest ever for a superhero movie? It seemed like an outrageous suggestion. After all, industry estimates at the time were predicting an opening whose upper limit was $160 million for the four-day weekend, but to top Marvel’s Avengers as the biggest superhero opening of all time, Black Panther would need more than $207 million in just three days. However, we noted that industry projections had continued to rise over the past few months, and that Hollywood seemed ill-equipped to understand the cultural importance of Black Panther and how that was likely to affect the box office. Meanwhile, in ticket pre-sales, Black Panther was breaking records.
Finally, Black Panther hit theaters in North America, and on its Thursday preview, according to Disney, the movie brought in over $25 million. To put that in perspective, that’s double Deadpool’s Thursday numbers, and Deadpool went on to make $152 million in four days, and $132 million in three. It’s also higher than The Avengers‘ $19 million Thursday.
Of course, Thursday previews don’t always accurately predict total weekend numbers. It’s Avengers: Age of Ultron that holds the record for biggest Marvel Thursday opening with over $27 million, but that film went on to gross $191 million in its first weekend, behind the three-day total of its predecessor. In many cases, word of mouth can help or hinder a movie’s box office performance. When it comes to Black Panther, the movie has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and presales, partially driven by organized trips for students, churches, and community groups, continue to produce sold out houses ahead of time. If you were planning to see Black Panther this weekend and you didn’t get tickets yet, you might be out of luck (but you should still try anyway).
All of that spells great news for Black Panther’s weekend box office. Now, predictions are being hastily revised, with Black Panther expected by some outlets to make $160 million in three days instead of four, and $180 million, even $200 million in four days. The movie may end up falling short of a $207 million three day take required to take the superhero movie crown, but it’s within striking distance if everything goes right, which is way more than anyone in the movie press predicted.
Well, except for us. Oh yeah: pip pip.