Marvel Domination Propels Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s $180m Domestic Debut

Disney believes that Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” raked in $330 million globally after soaring to a $180 million domestic start this past weekend (DIS). In contrast to Box Office Pro’s estimate of $170 million to $205 million, the actual numbers exceeded Disney’s $175 million opening weekend projection.

The announcement caused AMC (AMC) shares to surge, rising as much as 10% in early trade after CEO Adam Aron tweeted that the movie “established a U.S. record for the biggest November movie opening in AMC’s 102-year history.”

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Overall, the movie is anticipated to sell a sizable number of tickets through the holidays, particularly given the recent dip in the Hollywood pipeline. According to Box Office Pro Chief Analyst Shawn Robbins, “this is a potential momentum booster that theatres and studios have been counting down the days to.”

With $260 million from “Spider-Man No Way Home” and $187 million from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Wakanda Forever” is currently the third-best opening since the epidemic began. Furthermore, nine of the top 15 opening weekends of all time have now been produced by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Comparatively, the first “Black Panther” opened to a $202 million domestic audience in 2018 and ended up grossing $700,1 million domestically and $1.35 billion globally. Given the cultural relevance of the movie, Robbins continued, “Wakanda Forever” has the potential to appeal to audiences outside of the core Marvel following.

“Black Panther” is renowned for being the first significant black superhero, therefore the fact that a majority of the cast for the sequel is black is crucial, according to Robbins. “We can’t undervalue how much it will mean for diversity and the moviegoing population, going beyond just the normal Marvel fans that show up,” said the author.

Despite the sequel’s weaker opening, the results have been praised by industry insiders in light of the lengthier running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes as well as the unexpected death of the original main actor Chadwick Boseman, who does not appear in the sequel.

Box office analytics platform intelligence believes that the movie brought in 12.7 million viewers this past weekend, with 53% male and 47% female viewership. The only other movie in 2022 to sell more tickets was “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which attracted about 13.7 million viewers overall.

EntTelligence said that nationwide ticket costs averaged $13.71 with premium tickets costing $17.24 and non-premium tickets costing $12.63. Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago were the five most popular markets.

James Cameron's Avatar The Way of Water
James Cameron’s Avatar The Way of Water

After “Wakanda Forever,” James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the next anticipated release, and according to Robbins, it will position theatres for a good run into 2023. When the calendar turns over, he continued, “things start to look a little more normal at that time.”

“There may be a few slow periods in January, but they will not in any way, shape, or form be comparable to how slow things were last winter.” Similar upbeat remarks about “Avatar’s” impending release were made by IMAX (IMAX) CEO Richard Gelfond in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live. He referred to the original’s outstanding performance 13 years ago.

The number of IMAX theatres has increased since then, but according to Gelfond, “[Avatar] remains our highest-grossing film of all time.” “This is a different game for us, and I think the fourth quarter will show that people are returning to the movies in very significant numbers.”

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