In a defining moment for Hollywood, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther exploded at the Presidents Day box office, bounding to a record-shattering estimate of $192 million for the three-day weekend and a projected $218 million-plus for the four-day holiday! The Hollywood Reporter writes that the Ryan Coogler-directed movie — unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast — secured the fifth-biggest domestic opening of all time after blasting past all expectations. It’s also the best launch of any superhero film behind fellow Marvel title The Avengers, which earned $207.4 million in its first three days, not accounting for inflation.
However, the weekend isn’t over and Black Panther could climb even higher. Many rival studios show a four-day total of $222 million-$225 million, as well as a higher three-day total in the $195 million range. Other records broken include the biggest opening for an African-American director, the top-scoring superhero film on Rotten Tomatoes (97 percent) and biggest February bow, supplanting previous champ Deadpool, which took in $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend in 2016.
Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther was fueled by a diverse audience. According to comScore, 37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American. Caucasians made up the next largest group (35 percent), followed by Hispanics (18 percent). That sort of demo breakdown is unheard of for a marquee superhero tentpole. On average, African-Americans make up about 15 percent of the audience for such fare.
“There are seven billion people on this planet and they come from all walks of life. Audiences deserve to see themselves reflected on the big screen. Beyond being the right thing to do, it makes for richer storytelling,” says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis.