“Black Panther” is off to a flying start at the box office, earning $25.2 million from Thursday previews. That blows by the record for the biggest pre-summer preview ever, which was held by “The Hunger Games” with $19.7 million in March 2012. It’s also the second-highest preview total for a Marvel film, sitting only behind the $27.6 million made by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in summer 2015.
While there is a margin of error when judging the weekend by preview results, analysts have told TheWrap that a $25 million preview start would put “Black Panther” on pace to score a $180-185 million four-day opening on this President’s Day weekend, shattering the February record set by “Deadpool” two years ago with $152 million. In fact, “Black Panther” has already nearly doubled the preview total made by “Deadpool,” which made $12.7 million on its Thursday night launch.
The three-day total for “Black Panther” is on pace to reach $160 million, which would beat the openings of all of last year’s MCU entries and rank fifth among all 18 MCU films.
Over on Fandango, “Black Panther” became the fourth-best selling film in the website’s history, only being beaten in advance ticket sales by Disney’s three “Star Wars” releases, “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” and “The Last Jedi.”
Meanwhile, IMAX is reporting a $3 million total from its Thursday screenings, putting “Black Panther” in a dead heat with “Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War” for the biggest preview totals in IMAX history.
Overseas, “Black Panther” has racked up an international total of $47 million, with openings in Germany, Australia and Brazil on Thursday. The U.K. is the top grossing market with $10.1 million, while Korea, which is playing host to foreign moviegoers with the Olympics and is also prominently featured in the film, is cloe behind with $9.5 million. True comps can’t be made until the end of the weekend, but so far, the international pace is ahead of past first-entry MCU films like “Ant-Man,” “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The film does not open in China until March 9.