Black Panther is breaking another Fandango record, outpacing all first quarter movie releases to become the highest grossing January to March film with respect to ticket pre-sales. Already the top superhero film when it comes to pre-release tickets, Black Panther is tracking to debut with at least $120 million during its opening weekend, assuring that the Ryan Coogler-directed movie will be yet another hit for Marvel Studios. Tasked to open the company’s milestone 10 year anniversary year, the film is projected to reach $400 million domestically by the end of its run. That sets a pretty high bar for the rest of 2018's superhero film slate, too.
Starring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, the new King, and protector of the hidden nation of Wakanda, Black Panther tackles political, spiritual, and cultural issues making it one of the more unique Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date. In addition to a fascinating premise, Black Panther also assembles some of the most acclaimed black actors across multiple generations, including Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker (as Zuri) and Angela Bassett (Ramonda), along with relatively new A-listers like Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), and Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger).
Speaking of sales tracking, THR reports that Black Panther is not only Fandango's biggest superhero movie ever in terms of pre-release ticket sales, it's also set a record among first quarter movie releases for the site. That includes Lionsgate's The Hunger Games and Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast adaptation, both of which enjoyed massive domestic openings in 2012 and 2017, respectively. Between its advanced ticket sales and great word of mouth from pre-release screenings, Black Panther is now expected to soar to similar box office heights next week. “It’s not just a superhero movie, it’s a ground-breaking cultural event,” as Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis puts it.
As indicated by Davis, Black Panther is more than just "the latest" MCU installment and superhero/comic book blockbuster. It's been dubbed a game-changer when it comes to proper representation in Hollywood, with its social and cultural narrative beats cleverly intertwined with the signature Marvel storytelling. Similar to the movement that Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman inspired last year with regard to female empowerment, Black Panther's deep dive into African identity and heritage is expected to cause a positive ripple effect in the entertainment industry.
Safe to say that the hype for Black Panther is not dying anytime soon. If anything, people's anticipation for it is only growing, thanks to the Black Panther social media reactions from last week's Los Angeles premiere, as well as the first wave of Black Panther reviews that went live yesterday. At this point, the excitement surrounding the film has become overwhelmingly positive that in spite attempts by some factions to sabotage the film’s Rotten Tomatoes grade, the general public is more than a little stoked about the upcoming release.
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