(NOTE: In the U.S. Monday is Presidents Day, so it is factored in as a fourth day for this weekend.)
It’s official– ‘Black Panther’ is not just a movie; It’s a cultural milestone and moviegoers are turning out accordingly– in droves. After setting a record for advance ticket sales on Fandango, the movie actually outperformed even the most generous predictions. Its three-day take is $193M ($225.7M 4-day) and its Saturday total was up 33% from Friday, proving that it was not front-loaded like most big action flicks. This Saturday was the second-biggest Saturday in AMC theaters’ history, second only to December 15, the weekend when ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opened. Ryan Coogler’s Marvel Studios debut holds an exceptional 97% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and audiences have given it a rare “A+” CinemaScore, only the second Marvel has ever gotten; the first being ‘Avengers’. Hashtags for ‘Black Panther’ are more than double those for ‘The Last Jedi’ setting a massive record for social media buzz.
‘Black Panther’ didn’t surpass ‘Avengers” opening, but it did top that of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ giving it the fifth best opening of all time. (As of this writing, should ‘Black Panther’ actually top $226.3M over four days, it will beat ‘Avengers’.) It also now ranks as the best pre-summer opening ever, outpacing last year’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ($174.7M) and 2016’s ‘Batman v. Superman’ ($166M).
55% of attendees bought their tickets in advance, indicating that this was a pre-planned event for many. African Americans composed 37% of audiences, with Caucasians comprising 35%, Hispanics 18% and Asians 5%. The crowds are split 50/50 male/female. 36% fell within the ultra-desirable 18-24 age demographic, while 66% were over the age of 25. This film is also seeing “unprecedented” group sales for any film.
AMC has reported that at some of its locations, ‘Black Panther’ set records for a single title on an opening weekend. The chain held roughly 40 showings of this movie in a single day at 21 of its locations and at its AMC Southlake 24 theater, in Atlanta, which has a large African American population, it screened it an unprecedented 83 times in a single day. AMC added showtimes to meet demand at many locations, to the tune of millions of seats. Elsewhere, on Sunday, there were lines around the block in New York City. Fandango is also reporting that some viewers are ALREADY going back for repeat viewings.
Imax CEO Greg Foster beamed:
“Whatever you think the box office is, it always does better. I wish I had more seats to sell.”
Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis added:
“It’s not like anything we’ve ever experienced before, it has taken on its own life. The way people are talking about the experience is that, ‘I saw it on Thursday, but I’m coming back on Saturday, and might be back on Tuesday.’”
Coogler, cast members including leading man Chadwick Boseman and Marvel execs like president Kevin Feige popped up to surprise audiences at various locations, including in Coogler’s hometown of Oakland, CA.
In what may be an even bigger victory, ‘Black Panther’ is the #1 movie globally, earning $361M. Movies with black leads not named Will Smith do not tend to do well internationally. In the UK, ‘Black Panther’ has already beaten the individual grosses for the entire runs of ‘Justice League’, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, ‘Thor’, ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Iron Man’. In Korea, it’s the fifth highest-opening western movie of all time.
Check out the Top Five:
- Black Panther (Disney) – (per Disney) $192M (3-day), $218M (4-day); (per industry) $195.3M (3-day), $225.7M (4-day)
- Peter Rabbit (Sony) – $17.2M (3-day), $22.1M (4-day)
- Fifty Shades Freed (Universal) – $16.9M (3-day), $18.9M (4-day)
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony) – $7.9M (3-day), $10M (4-day)
- The 15:17 to Paris (Warner Brother) – $7.69M (3-day), $9.1M (4-day)
In non-‘Black Panther’ news, with $380.3M, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ now ranks as Sony’s second-highest grossing movie of all time, second only to Sam Raimi’s first ‘Spider-Man’ ($403.7M). Considering that it made $10M (4-day) this weekend, it’s not impossible that it could overtake ‘Spider-Man’, but with ‘Black Panther’ on the market, appealing to the same demographics (which is… like everybody), it’s unfortunately more likely that ‘Jumanji’ will actually deflate at this point. Globally, the Jake Kasdan-directed flick has crossed the $900M mark, just $100M shy of $1B. But that is also within the realm of possibility.
Next week, there is nothing that will dethrone King T’Challa. There’s comedy mystery ‘Game Night’ which stars Rachel McAdams, Jesse Plemons and Jason Bateman and ‘Annihilation’ which will only be released theatrically in the U.S., Canada, and China and will be going straight to Netflix everywhere else. But U.S. audiences may wait to stream it for free later this year.
‘Black Panther’ will absolutely be the #1 movie next weekend, but check back to see how things shake up overall.