The film pulled in $201.8 million domestically for Walt Disney Co. DIS, -0.52% over the course of its three-day Friday to Sunday opening weekend. That makes “Black Panther” the highest-ever February release, beating out 2016’s “Deadpool,” and places it in fifth all time after another Marvel title “The Avengers,” Universal Pictures’s CMCSA, -0.80% “Jurassic World,” and Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
For the four-day weekend including the Presidents Day holiday, “Black Panther” raked in $235.0 million in the U.S. alone. Including box office receipts from around the world, the film has already garnered $404.0 million, without yet opening in China, Japan, Russia or South Korea.
“The enthusiasm for ‘Black Panther’ just kept growing over the weekend,” ComScore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. “The movie theater can provide a powerful platform for change and for ‘Black Panther’ the breaking down of barriers and outmoded ideas becomes even more profound when viewed within that communal environment, and then goes beyond the theater as it sparks an important conversation that is resonating with people around the world.”
The film, which has a 98% aggregate rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has been heralded as an important cultural moment for its director, Ryan Coogler, and Marvel Studios.
Coogler is the first African-American director to helm a Marvel film in the decade that the studio has been releasing films as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Black Panther” follows T’Challa, the protector as Black Panther and new king of the fictional, isolationist African nation Wakanda, as he struggles to contend with outside forces.
Coming after the #OscarsSoWhite controversies in 2015 and 2016, “Black Panther” and its predominantly black cast, offer a poignant story of the African-American experience and a celebration of African culture.
Disney threw a reported $200 million production budget behind the film, a significant support for black filmmakers telling a story through a black lens.
“Black Panther’s” huge opening weekend is expected to encourage Hollywood to invest money and resources in stories from filmmakers of color.
“In success, Hollywood immediately gets interested in making more of these movies and projects that will target and hopefully attract a wide audience,” entertainment lawyer Darrell Miller told MarketWatch.
“In failure, Hollywood often says ‘I told you so’ and pulls back from spending significant production and marketing dollars on high budget, tentpole films that focus on people of color. This is unfortunate because the same standard is not applied to mainstream films.”