Black Panther has set a new Monday box office record. The film grossed an estimated $40.16 million in the United States, surpassing the previous Monday box office record set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The film was directed by Ryan Coogler and returns Chadwick Boseman to the role of  T’Challa/Black Panther, following his debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Black Panther is currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics and 100% with the Tomatometer’s top critics, making it critically one of the highest-rated superhero films of all-time, and the highest-rated Marvel movie of all time. The critical and commercial hype only fueled this past weekend’s audience attendance.

Related: Every Record Black Panther Has Broken So Far

Black Panther first caught the attention of box office analysts in its pre-sale performance. It has now gone on to a 4-day holiday total of $242 million, which tops the 4-day gross for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is far and away the highest grossing film of 2018 to date, and enjoyed the largest opening weekend for a film in February, pummeling the previous record-holder Deadpool. The film stands currently as the fifth largest four day opening of all time, passing Jurassic World‘s $234.1 million gross.

Disney has a close eye on Black Panther, as box-office gross estimates continue to rise from the holiday weekend. The film gives the studio eight of the top ten domestic openings of all time. It also firmly establishes Disney’s investment in Marvel, which will expand into “Phase 4” next year with superhero T’Challa and additional box-office Avengers, Guardians and, of course, villains.

Black Panther poster with Chadwick Boseman Black Panther Breaks Monday Box Office Record

Our interview with producer Nate Moore indicated sequels to Black Panther are planned as well. Though there isn’t a concrete release date, it is unlikely a sequel will slip in to Marvel’s three-films-a-year slate in 2019. There are a total of 20 Marvel planned moves after the fourth Avengers film, and one is presumed to be a sequel to this weekend’s box office smash hit.

Mania for Black Panther isn’t just a domestic story.  Its worldwide take has passed $425 million in just a number of days (excluding expected lucrative takes in China, Japan and Russia). Rewardingly, record crowds across Africa have celebrated the film’s take on the continent’s cultures, as seen through the fictional East African nation of Wakanda.

Box office is likely to increase also from word-of-mouth and repeat screenings. The next closest thing to a superhero movie doesn’t arrive until March 16th, with Warner Bros.’ Lara Croft reboot Tomb Raider, followed by Pacific Rim Uprising, starring John Boyega, a week later.  As Black Panther‘s daunting A+ CinemaScore is unlikely to be beaten over the next month, let alone next year, this first superhero of Africa should be the reigning king of the box office for awhile.

MORE: Which Black Panther Characters Are Returning for Infinity War?

Source: Exhibitor Relations

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