'Black Panther' rakes in $235 million on the weekend
February 20, 2018 | 10:08 AM
by Reuters
A still from 'Black Panther'.

Los Angeles: Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a stunning $235 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Monday.

"Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has blown away its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on January 25.

Since then, "Black Panther" has become far more than just a popular tentpole title. Instead, it's become a must-see event as it veers into record-setting territory. Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film. The film has continued to shatter all projections since then.

On Sunday, Disney estimated that "Black Panther" would take in $218 million for Presidents Day weekend, then revised that number upward on Monday morning by an astounding $17 million. The movie finished Sunday with a $60.1 million - the second best Sunday in industry history, just slightly behind 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" record of $60.6 million.

With 73 per cents of schools closed, "Black Panther" business should decline 45 per cent from Sunday for a $33 million Monday and $235 million four-day debut.

"Black Panther" has also pushed the 2018 year to date domestic gross up 6.9% to $1.65 billion, according to comScore. It is the highest three-day debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time behind only "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at $248 million, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" at $220 million, "Jurassic World" at $208.8 million and "The Avengers" at $207.4 million.

"Black Panther" has demolished the record for the largest President's Day weekend, blowing past "Deadpool's" 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit an eye-popping $340 million - far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.

Boseman portrays T'Challa, the ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan's Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star.

"Black Panther" should dominate moviegoing for several weeks.

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