A Closer Look at 'Black Panther's Record Smashing Opening

by Brad Brevet

February 20, 2018

Actual grosses for the weekend are in and Black Panther continues to break more and more records after becoming only the fifth film to ever deliver over $200 million in its first three days of release and the second largest four-day gross in history. Those, however, are just some of the highlights from this past weekend and we'll begin by taking a look at the film's performance, beginning with the charts where Black Panther sits at #1.

Beyond those charts, Black Panther places second only to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as the second highest four-day gross of all-time and the second largest Sunday of all-time by just $485,750.

Black Panther also places second only to The Avengers on several charts, including the second highest opening for a comic book adaptation, for a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for a Marvel Comic adaptation and for a superhero movie. For that matter, within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther has already outgrossed the lifetime domestic totals for Doctor Strange ($232.6m), Thor: The Dark World ($206.3m), Thor ($181m), Ant-Man ($180.2m), Captain America: The First Avenger ($176.6m) and The Incredible Hulk ($134.8m) and will top Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259.7m) once Tuesday grosses arrive.

The film also led the three-day weekend which saw the seventh largest gap between first and second place as it topped Peter Rabbit by $185.5 million. Going further, the overall four-day weekend saw that gap grow into the second largest gap, topping Peter Rabbit by $218.7 million. This past weekend was also the third largest weekend overall with the top twelve delivering a combined $270.9 million, of which Black Panther accounted for nearly 75%.

Debuting in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther's per theater average for the three-day weekend was a massive $50,250, the third largest ever. Even more eye-opening, Black Panther's theater count was the smallest among the top fifteen openings of all-time and second only to Furious 7 in the top 25.

Internationally, despite not debuting in China (March 9), Japan (March 1) or Russia, the film still delivered the 15th largest worldwide debut of all-time. The film also posted the highest grossing February opening of all-time in the UK and Ireland ($24.9m), the Netherlands ($2.4m), Mexico ($9.2m), Brazil ($9.5m) and Colombia ($1.8m).

Looking ahead, it's impossible to determine just how high Black Panther's domestic total will climb after an opening of this size. Deadpool delivered a 2.74x multiplier after opening over the same weekend in 2016, which when applied to Black Panther's opening, translates to a domestic run over $550 million. Looking at the multipliers for the four other films that opened over $200 million — The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers — they range from Force Awakens' stellar 3.78x to a 2.81x multiplier for The Last Jedi, which is in the tail end of its domestic run. While it would be unreasonable to expect Black Panther to perform on the scale of Force Awakens, the three other multipliers suggest a domestic run from $567-631 million.

Things do get a little less optimistic when you consider the 2.4x multiplier for Avengers: Age of Ultron and 2.28x multiplier for Captain America: Civil War, which would put Black Panther's domestic run anywhere from $460-485 million.

Overall, it feels relatively safe to expect a domestic run over $550 million, which would make Black Panther the seventh largest domestic performance of all-time and the second largest in the MCU, behind only The Avengers ($623.3m). That said, should it follow The Avengers and delivers a 3x multiplier we're looking at a $605M+ run at the domestic box office, while a performance closer to Jurassic World's run pushes that total over $630 million.

Where it goes internationally will be interesting to watch, four films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have topped $1 billion worldwide. Will Black Panther become the fifth?

For more on Black Panther click here.

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DAILY: Wednesday, 3/21 (41 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 3/20 (40 tracked)
New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 3/19 (40 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Black Panther' #1
DAILY: Friday, 'Tomb Raider' #1
WEEKLY: 'Black Panther' Tops the Week with $57.49m
DAILY: Thursday 3/15 (45 tracked)