Marvel's Black Panther is poised to continue its dominance of the box office by besting new arrival A Wrinkle In Time. Since it debuted a month ago, Ryan Coogler's entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe morphed into a cultural phenomenon, shattering records left and right as it climbed its way up the all-time charts. The film currently ranks as the second highest-grossing installment in the $14 billion franchise and may top The Avengers by the time it's all said and done. Black Panther will also be the first MCU film without Iron Man to pass $1 billion worldwide.
As impressive as this run has been, it seemed likely T'Challa's reign would end when the calendar flipped to March, where a bevy of genre pictures will debut. Up first is Ava DuVernary's fantasy flick, A Wrinkle In Time, but based on the latest weekend projections, it looks like Panther will hold on to the top spot for at least one more week.
Per Box Office Pro, Black Panther is estimated to win the weekend with $39.3 million. Should this pan out, Panther will become the first film since Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hold on to the #1 position for four consecutive weekends - illustrating how much of a juggernaut it is. A Wrinkle in Time should come in a close second with roughly $33.5 million in its first three days.
What hurts Wrinkle's chances of unseating Black Panther is the fact the buzz isn't all that great. Early reviews are decidedly mixed, with many critics praising DuVernay's ambition, but finding fault in a clunky story that doesn't live up to its potential. For a comparison, Wrinkle's predictions are in the same ballpark as Tomorrowland ($33 million), which was a rare Disney flop back in 2015. That doesn't bode well for the Mouse House, but one silver lining is that Wrinkle's production budget ($103 million) was considerably less than that of Tomorrowland ($190 million), so even if it doesn't turn a profit, it won't be as substantial a loss. Still, this development has to be disappointing for Disney, as they're typically reliable commercially.
Rounding out the top five this weekend should be Red Sparrow, Strangers: Prey at Night, and Game Night. One of this week's other new releases, Gringo, is not expected to make much of an impact at the box office. Despite an all-star ensemble led by David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Sharlto Copley, reviews for the dark comedy have been largely negative and it's entering theaters with little fanfare. Gringo is projected to earn only $3.2 million in its opening frame.
Source: Box Office Pro
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