‘Black Panther 2’ Breaks Streaming Record for Marvel Premiere on Disney+

“Wakanda Forever” is yet more evidence that strong theatrical revenue can boost, rather than hinder, eventual streaming success

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Marvel Studios

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the most-watched Marvel movie premiere ever on Disney+ worldwide, based on hours streamed in the first five days, Disney announced Monday.

The Ryan Coogler-directed sequel made its streaming debut on Wednesday, including on Walt Disney streamer Disney+. Now, Disney is declaring that the film pulled bigger initial Disney+ figures than the likes of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Eternals” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.”  

The studio did not, currently, offer any hard viewership figures; however, Samba TV is reporting that 2.1 million U.S. households watched the 160-minute feature in those first five days, a figure on par with “Doctor Strange 2” and just below “Thor 4” (2.2 million). “Black Adam” earned 1.5 million households in its first five days, while “The Batman” earned 2.6 million households in its maiden voyage on HBO Max.

Considering “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” starring Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Tenoch Huerta Mejia and current Best Supporting Actress Oscar frontrunner Angela Bassett, already earned $453 million domestically and $843 million worldwide, it’s yet another example of how theatrical success can be a boon for, rather than a hindrance to, eventual streaming glory.  

Even if the overall gross was slightly lower than hoped, “Black Panther” earned $1.347 billion worldwide in 2018, the current global total is arguably on par with what was realistically expected from the first film in the aftermath of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” earning $881 million and “Wonder Woman” grossing $821 million in 2017.  

The film received an 83-day theatrical window, close to pre-COVID status quo, and it seems to be another sign that Disney is no longer in a mad rush to send its theatrical releases, especially the ones that pop at the box office, to Disney+.

“Wakanda Forever” has been nominated for five Oscars this year, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Visual Effects, Best Make-Up and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design and Best Original Song for Rihanna’s “Life Me Up.”