According to Forbes: The numbers are in and Black Panther is a monster hit. More than that, it has already earned a place in the box office history books in just its first three-to-four days of release. The movie earned a $201.8 million Fri-Sun weekend and will earn an estimated $235m over the Fri-Mon holiday. So, without further ado, I wanted to take a moment to note the copious big ways that the Ryan Coogler-directed/Chadwick Boseman-starring superhero spectacular has already planted its flag in the sand. Please enjoy eight box office records that Black Panther has already broken and ten more where it came awfully close to the top of the mountain. Let’s put “All the Stars” or “Opps” on your music device of choice, open up that Box Office Mojo tab and dive in!
Biggest February opening weekend:
The previous high-water mark for a February opening weekend was Deadpool with $132 million over the Fri-Sun frame and $152m over the Fri-Mon Presidents Day weekend. While Black Panther lacked the Valentine’s Day advantage (Feb. 14 fell on a Saturday that year), it also played in 3D and had a PG-13 rating. Either way, it earned around 52% more than Deadpool and 148% more than Fifty Shades of Grey (which also had a Valentine’s Day Saturday advantage).
Biggest non-sequel opening weekend:
Unless you want to count The Avengers as a non-sequel (which you should not, since it literally plays as a sequel to Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger), then Black Panther has the second-biggest non-sequel debut of all time. But absent that, Black Panther (an almost entirely stand-alone movie) has the new record for the biggest Fri-Sun launch for a non-sequel/prequel, displacing The Hunger Games which opened with $152m in March of 2012 (in 2D). And yes, it took this record even when accounting for inflation.
Biggest solo superhero launch of all time:
Since it opened above the $174 million opening weekend of Iron Man 3, Black Panther has the new milestone for a solo superhero Fri-Sun debut. Yes, I count Captain America: Civil War as an ensemble film (or at the very least a Captain America/Iron Man two-hander), but since Black Panther topped that film’s $179m Fri-Sun debut that’s somewhat trivial.
The only other bigger comic book superhero launch is The Avengers. If you want to play the inflation game, which is fair, the solo Black Panther adventure would be in fourth-place just behind The Dark Knight ($158 million in 2008 sans 3D, $202.5m adjusted for inflation), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191m/$203.9m and The Avengers ($207m/$234m). By the way, if Black Panther ends up as frontloaded as Spider-Man 3 ($151m debut in 2007, which could be $201m today, for an eventual $336m domestic cume), it still gets to $445m domestic.
Biggest Fri-Sun opening weekend for a long holiday debut:
This is another one it swiped from Deadpool, as the MCU flick has now earned more money in its Fri-Sun frame than any movie ever that had an extra day before or after its conventional Fri-Sun opening weekend. It goes without saying that the Fri-Sun figure may have been even bigger without Presidents Day soaking up some of the demand. But I think all parties will find a way to cope, and Presidents Day weekend has a long history (Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Kingsman, Deadpool) of comic book movies breaking out.
Biggest long holiday opening weekend:
In terms of all “long weekend openings,” be they four days or six days, Black Panther’s estimated $235 million four-day launch (which could go up) is ahead of the $200 million Wed-Sun debut of Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the $180 million six-day Independence Day weekend openings for Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Spider-Man 2 (the latter in 2D way back in 2004), the $158 million Thurs-Sun opening of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, the $156 million Fri-Mon Memorial debut of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the $156 million Tuesday-to-Sunday Independence Day weekend debut of the original Transformers and the $152m Fri-Mon opening of Deadpool (in 2D and with an R-rating).
Biggest opening weekend ever for any movie not directed by a white guy:
There is going to be a lot of talk about how the blow-out domestic and international box office triumph disproves conventional wisdom about what kind of folks must be the leads in big movies to make big bucks, but we should have already known that for years now (12 Years a Slave and Moonlight both made more overseas than in North America).
But Black Panther’s boffo opening is the biggest opening ever for any movie not helmed by a white guy, displacing James Wan’s Furious 7 (which earned $1.5 billion worldwide despite/because of a diverse cast). Although I’m sure they are all rooting for each other, I’d like to think that Wan or Patty Jenkins is sitting in a swivel chair right now petting an (evil) cat and plotting his or her revenge.
By the way, since The Force Awakens was sold as a Daisy Ridley/John Boyega two-hander, I would argue that said Star Wars story still counts as the biggest opening for a movie starring a minority actor.
Biggest-grossing movie (in North America) directed by a black filmmaker:
With at least $235 million in four days, it has already passed the (2D) domestic total of F. Gary Gray’s Fate of the Furious. Sure, it has some work to go to catch up with Fate of the Furious’ $1.1 billion global total, but after this weekend, with a $404m+ worldwide launch, that pie-in-the-sky scenario isn’t entirely implausible.
Biggest pre-summer opening weekend:
Black Panther has the fifth-biggest Fri-Sun debut of all time. And since two of the bigger ones were Star Wars movies in mid-December and the other two were summer flicks (Avengers and Jurassic World), Black Panther has dethroned Batman v Superman ($166 million) as the biggest pre-summer opener of all time.
2nd-Biggest comic book superhero opening weekend:
Among all comic book superhero movie opening weekends, the Fri-Sun frame stands behind only The Avengers ($207 million). It snagged a bigger opening weekend than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166m), making it “bigger” than any DC movie ever (sans inflation). Heck, if you want to be a jerk about it, Black Panther has already outgrossed Justice League ($228m) in North America.
If we play the inflation card, then Black Panther is just over/under the likes of Spider-Man 3 ($201.6m adjusted), The Dark Knight ($202.5m adjusted) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($203.9m adjusted). Sure, it’s behind The Avengers ($234.5m adjusted), but it only needed four days to gross that amount, and those flicks didn’t have an extra holiday messing with the Fri-Sun total.
2nd-biggest Sunday gross:
With the final estimates now counted for the Fri-Sun frame, Black Panther’s $60.096 million Sunday gross is down just -8% from Saturday and $9.5m more than the “pure” $50.6m Friday gross. It is the 33rd-biggest single-day gross. But it’s also the second-biggest Sunday gross of all time, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($60.5m). If you want to play the inflation card, it is the fourth-biggest Sunday behind The Avengers, The Force Awakens and Jurassic World.
3rd-biggest four-day gross:
With at least $235 million in four days, it sits behind only The Last Jedi ($241m) and The Force Awakens ($288m) among the biggest four-day totals. Again, if you play the inflation card, we’re still looking at the fifth spot on this list, with The Dark Knight sneaking past the Black Panther. We’re hearing rumblings of a bigger-than-anticipated Monday, one that could push the MCU movie past The Last Jedi, but I can update quickly enough if the occasion arises.
3rd-biggest non-summer opening weekend:
As of now, Black Panther’s Fri-Sun frame is the fifth-biggest overall launch of all time. And of those four bigger debuts, only two of them (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) opened outside of the core summer season. And yeah, if you account for inflation, Black Panther remains the third-biggest non-summer opening weekend of all time and the biggest pre-summer debut of all time.
4th-biggest Saturday gross:
After its boffo opening day, Black Panther earned $65.8 million on Saturday. That was a mere 13% drop from opening day or a 31% jump if you take out the Thursday previews. It’s also the 24th-biggest single-day gross of all time and the fourth-biggest Saturday figure, between Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($63m) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($68.2m), The Avengers ($69.5m) and Jurassic World ($69.4m). If you count inflation, it’s still in eighth place.
5th-biggest opening weekend of all time:
This one pretty much speaks for itself. With a $201.8 million Fri-Sun frame, it sits behind only The Avengers ($207m), Jurassic World ($208m), Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220m) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248m).
If you adjust for inflation, Black Panther will end up in seventh place behind only The Dark Knight ($202.3m adjusted), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($203.9m), The Last Jedi ($220m), Jurassic World ($232m), The Avengers ($234m) and The Force Awakens ($261m).
8th-biggest Friday and 8th-biggest single-day gross:
Among single-day grosses, Friday grosses and opening day grosses, Black Panther’s $75.8 million Friday sits behind only The Avengers ($80.8m), Batman v Superman ($81.5m), Jurassic World ($81.9m), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($91m), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($91m), The Last Jedi ($104.6m) and The Force Awakens ($119.1m).
8th-biggest Monday gross:
The estimates could change tomorrow, but as of now, Black Panther has earned $33.2 million on its fourth day of release. That is the 179th-biggest single day ever, just ahead of Justice League’s initial Saturday gross.
And, as of this writing, it is the ninth-biggest Monday gross, behind The Force Awakens ($42.3m), Spider-Man 2 ($40.8m), The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($36m), Shrek 2 ($34.6m on its 13th day of release), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($34.2m) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($33.5m) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($33.45m).But that could go away up once the finals are in. Even an extra $2.8m will make it the third-biggest Monday of all time.
25th-biggest comic book movie of all time:
In just four days, its estimated $235 million gross already makes it the 25th-biggest comic book adaptation of all time, just ahead of X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233.9m) and X-Men: The Last Stand ($234.3m). It will be shooting up said chart every day for the next week or so. By Tuesday or Wednesday, it’ll be past the likes of Men in Black ($250m), Batman ($251m), Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259m) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($262m).
26th-biggest superhero movie of all time:
In just four days, its estimated $235 million gross already makes it the 26th-biggest superhero movie of all time. Yes, I’m counting The Matrix Reloaded ($271m in 2003) and The Incredibles ($262m in 2004), but that won’t matter in a few days. It will be shooting up said chart every day for the next week or so, which will give me plenty of fodder for daily updates. Just by Tuesday or Wednesday, it’ll be past the (unadjusted) domestic grosses of Men in Black ($250m), Batman ($251m), Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259m), The Incredibles ($261m) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($262m).
I am sure there are other arbitrary milestones that I left off, such as “fifth-fastest to $200 million domestic alongside the other did-it-in-three-days openers” or “biggest-grossing movie for Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan” or what-have-you. Oh, and it had the fourth-biggest IMAX domestic debut ever behind Jurassic World, The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens. But this is long enough already, and even if that Monday number is underestimated and skews the results even higher, I think you’ve got a pretty clear picture of just how huge this movie turned out to be straight out of the gate. There are going to be plenty more milestones over the next two weeks, so watch this space for daily updates, give or take a fluke on my schedule.