Just from ticket presale numbers, we knew that Black Panther was going to be big. Now that it’s finally in theaters, the numbers from its opening weekend indicate that it’s off to an auspicious start, and has already broken at least three records in as many days.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, Marvel’s very first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie with an almost entirely black cast, has already taken home $192 million since Thursday night and is projected to make around $218 million-plus over the President’s Day holiday. That’s the second-biggest opening in the M.C.U. behind The Avengers, which made $207.4 million in its first three days, not accounting for inflation. Black Panther might even pass The Avengers’ four-day earnings of $226.3 million by Monday.
As ignorant as it looks now, Black Panther was once considered a gamble for Marvel Studios, which hadn’t yet made a movie in the M.C.U. featuring a black lead or even a single scene without white characters. But the $200 million gamble paid off, and after not even a week Black Panther is already the biggest opening for a black director, the best-scoring superhero movie on Rotten Tomatoes (so far) at 97 percent, and the biggest February opening of all time—a record previously held by fellow superhero movie Deadpool, which made $152.2 million over the 2016 President’s Day weekend. It also earned an A+ audience CinemaScore (the only other Marvel movie to do that was The Avengers).
Black Panther is also unprecedented in terms of its audience demographics. Audiences for superhero movies have, in the past, been mostly white. But Black Panther’s opening weekend demographics, according to comScore, show that 37 percent of ticket buyers were black, 35 percent are white, and 18 percent are Hispanic. Normally, black audience members make up about 15 percent for a tentpole superhero movie. Marvel hasn’t announced any plans for a Black Panther sequel yet, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feigehas mentioned that there is plenty of material out there, and “many, many stories to tell.” Let’s be honest: if anyone should survive the Infinity War, it’s the King of Wakanda.
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