Projections for Black Panther's China opening this weekend have it topping two of Marvel Studios' most recent films. It's been a few weeks now since Black Panther debuted in theaters, and while everyone expected it to be a financial hit, not many predicted this type of success. It is easily on its way to crossing $1 billion at the global box office, largely thanks to an incredibly strong domestic performance. The movie now has a top 10 all-time domestic total and could still very well climb up another spot or two before everything is said and done.
While the domestic haul accounts for over $500 million, Black Panther's performance overseas has still been quite strong. It's already earned over $400M internationally, and still has China on the horizon. With that launch coming this Friday, Black Panther is projected to do quite well.
Deadline reports Black Panther is projected to earn between $50-$60M currently, but many anticipate it being even higher. They report it is actually outselling Spider-Man: Homecoming, which opened to $71M, in advanced ticket sales by 30 percent. That could very well indicate Black Panther will outperform Homecoming's opening this weekend. It's already expected to top Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok. If the movie doesn't over-perform and just matches expectations, it is still looking at a $100-$120M haul from China.
For a movie that has already broken plenty of Hollywood myths about audiences not being interested in films led by people of color, China will be the final test. That final Chinese gross may seem a bit low given a potentially strong opening, but that is due to the competition it will face. Unlike Black Panther's domestic release date that gave it multiple weeks without other blockbusters opening, the later Chinese release means it will compete with Tomb Raider and Pacific Rim Uprising in the coming weeks. This also doesn't account for the foreign films it will compete with, such as Japanese sports romance Mix.
As long as Black Panther meets these expectations, it will have no problem crossing $1 billion, while also evening out the box office. The box office for Black Panther is currently an exception to the norm for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In most instances, the international box office accounts for roughly 60 percent of the worldwide total, but it's currently around 45 percent. The additional boost from China should mean Black Panther's final tally is a nearly even split between domestic and international. The same thing happened last year for Wonder Woman's box office, where it was strengthened domestically thanks to the cultural impact. Marvel certainly accomplished the same resonance for people of color as DC did for women. If anything, both are examples of an over-performing domestic box office, and not a disappointing international one.