Opening night previews for Black Panther launch the movie to similar numbers as Captain America: Civil War. There's been a ton of excitement building in the lead up to the release of another Marvel Cinematic Universe film. The movie is finally out in theaters in most territories, including the U.S. launch last night. Many were already excited to see Marvel Studios diversify their lineup by giving Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa his own solo movie, but then the early reviews pointed to them having something special.
Directed by Ryan Coogler and featuring an all-star cast, Black Panther continued to be pegged as a soon-to-be cultural phenomenon. It has drawn comparisons to Wonder Woman for how impactful it could be in seeing more movies with a diverse cast to be made on a larger scale. Because of that, box office expectations continued to rise in the days and weeks leading up to now.
Deadline reports early estimates for Black Panther's Thursday night preview showings reflect the high level of interest. According to their sources, Black Panther is set to make at least $25 million from the opening night screenings. An opening night this high puts Black Panther on par with T'Challa's MCU debut, Captain America: Civil War. Once actual sales are tallied, Black Panther could wind up being even higher, surpassing Civil War in the process. Update: THR now reports Black Panther's actual total is $25.2M, safely securing it as the second biggest MCU opening.
Depending on how the actual figures fall, Black Panther will have the second or third best opening of any MCU movie. The only movie it appears that it won't top is Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened to $27.6M. That isn't a huge difference, and with tracking for Black Panther constantly rising, it could be revealed soon that it did indeed top Age of Ultron. Even if that doesn't happen, Black Panther has wasted no time in cementing itself as an early box office powerhouse, and easily broke the record for biggest pre-summer opening. That title used to belong to The Hunger Games' $19.7M opening.
In the big picture, a $25M opening night will greatly help Black Panther reach the lofty expectations it now has. On the high end, it is tracking for a 3-day opening of $185M and potentially a 4-day President's Day weekend haul of $210M. More conservative projections have it making $182M over the extended weekend. Either way, Black Panther will have no trouble breaking records. Now, only time and word of mouth will tell just how big this movie will wind up being.
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