With its record-obliterating $242 million President’s Day opening weekend and $426 million global launch, “Black Panther” is guaranteed to surpass $1 billion at the worldwide box office. The only question is: How fast will it reach the coveted billion-dollar threshold?
“This is nuts. We’ve never seen anything like this before at this time of year,” said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock. “This film is going to make well over $1 billion, and it’s reaching levels that I thought its sequel would have reached.”
Wide releases entering theaters in the next two weeks, including the comedy “Game Night,” the spy thriller “Red Sparrow” and the sci-fi horror film “Annihilation,” aren’t expected to come close to challenging T’Challa’s spot on atop the box office throne, as “Black Panther” has the wind at its back.
The film starring Chadwick Boseman has been burning up both social media and ticket sales sites. Data from the social media analytics group Shareablee reported traffic on Instagram for “Black Panther” as nine times bigger than the footprint made by last summer’s biggest hit, “Wonder Woman.” Meanwhile, Fandango reported over the weekend that the site saw a significant increase in repeat ticket buys over previous superhero movies, with a poll of 1,000 Fandango users showing that 61 percent would go see the film again.
That means a second-weekend domestic total of more than $100 million is very likely, and that should put the 10-day domestic total bigger than the entire run for “Wonder Woman,” which made $412.5 million.
As for the film’s final domestic total, none of the other four films in history that have posted $200 million-plus openings — “The Avengers,” “Jurassic World,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — have made less than $600 million in the U.S. and Canada. Counting the open runway “Black Panther” will have over the next three weeks, it even has a strong chance of beating the $652 million domestic total grossed by “Jurassic World” in 2015, which would make it the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time and ahead of “The Avengers.”
A projected ten-day domestic total of approximately $425 million and an overseas total of $325 million by Feb. 25 (“Black Panther” has already made $184 million internationally) would put the total for the Ryan Coogler-directed move at roughly $750 million after 13 days in theaters, starting on Feb. 13, when the film opened in several overseas markets. If that comes to pass, the Marvel hit could foreseeable make $1 billion worldwide during Oscar week at the beginning of March — meaning it would cross the milestone in less than 21 days, faster than it took for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War” to hit a billion.
Should that happen, “Black Panther” will become only the ninth film in box office history to make $1 billion globally in less than three weeks. If it reaches that mark in less than 19 days, it will have done it faster than “The Avengers,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” “Iron Man 3” and “Avatar.”
From there, “Black Panther” could potentially pass the $1.32 billion made by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” though that will come down to how the film performs in China when it opens on March 9. The last Marvel film, “Thor: Ragnarok,” opened to $53.3 million in China, but Bock said “Black Panther” could make even more.
“Marvel is such a huge brand, including in China, and there’s all of this positive word-of-mouth going around worldwide that’s going to filter into the country,” he told TheWrap. “If ‘Black Panther’ is as popular in China as ‘Coco’ was, then we might be seeing the film reach $1.3 billion by the end of its run.”