Why Black Panther Smashed the Box Office Record


Living up to its hype, Black Panther is projected to have the largest Presidents Day weekend at the box office ever — raking in anywhere from $218 to $230 million over the four-day holiday weekend.

It’s a number that’s almost double what the film was anticipated to make. Based on advance ticket sale estimates, Black Panther was expected to make closer to $120 million back in late January.

What’s more, Black Panther’s three-day estimated gross of $192 million will make it the highest February debut ever, and the fifth highest weekend gross of all time.

The fact that movie-goers are flocking en masse only further solidifies the cultural touchstone Black Panther is now guaranteed to be. As the first Marvel film centered around a predominately black cast and featuring a rising star black director, Black Panther was already set to make waves.

But between a mix of solid reviews from critics and a masterfully executed marketing campaign prior to its debut, Black Panther managed to capitalize on a moment when audiences are yearning for more diversity in mainstream movies.

Following Wonder Woman’s moment at the box office as a feminist-driven powerhouse, Black Panther is connecting with black audiences in a way that no Marvel movie has before.

In The Root, Danielle Young wrote of director Ryan Cooler’s ability to create a superhero movie that didn’t skimp on the fantasy in order to ground itself in narrative quality. “It’s like Coogler grabbed everything black people talk about in barber shops, church, kitchens, cookouts, and group texts and wrapped it in Wakanda magic,” she said.

Fandango is also reporting an unusually high projected rate of repeat moviegoers over the film’s opening weekend, with 61 percent considering repeat viewings of the film before even having seen it.

Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman returns to reprise his role as T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda and wielder of the warrior mantle, Black Panther. But upon his return home, T’Challa is confronted by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a political rival whose vision for Wakanda’s future clashes with T’Challa’s.

With files from Eric Francisco.

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