“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” by Marvel Studios.
disney and Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” raked in an estimated $180 million on its domestic debut, earning it the record for the biggest debut of November and the second-best debut of 2022.
The long-awaited sequel to 2018’s hit “Black Panther” generated strong word of mouth ahead of its opening weekend, with critics praising the film for honoring the late Chadwick Boseman and pushing the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the future.
“Wakanda Forever” is expected to attract 12.7 million customers this weekend, according to data from EntTelligence. Only Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” attracted more moviegoers, pulling in 13.7 million during its opening weekend in May.
“Multiverse of Madness” is also the film that currently holds the record for the highest opening of 2022, with $187 million. If “Wakanda Forever” sees an increase in ticket sales on Sunday, it could top that number.
The film has already outperformed “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which grossed $158 million when it debuted in 2013, which was the highest-grossing November opening ever.
Ticket sales were fueled by an influx of African American and Hispanic moviegoers who flocked to theaters over the weekend. Like “Black Panther,” “Wakanda Forever” features a predominantly black cast, but it also has several Hispanic actors. Both of these demographics were hugely important to the box office success of the first film.
EntTelligence estimates that 36% of ticket buyers were African American, more than double the demographic typically represented for other Marvel films. Hispanic audiences accounted for 13% of ticket sales.
“‘Wakanda Forever’ lives up to expectations not only as an important blockbuster for Disney and theaters, but also as a memorial to Chadwick Boseman that fans share and experience together,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
The film also arrived in theaters during a lull in the theatrical calendar, providing a much-needed boost to the industry.
“After weeks of post-summer downturn, ‘Wakanda Forever’ was a powerful reminder of the power of an epic Marvel movie to generate blockbuster-like revenue in theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
“Wakanda Forever” accounted for 94% of all foot traffic in theaters nationwide and accounted for nearly 100% of all premium-format screenings over the weekend, according to data from EntTelligence.
Comscore’s Dergarabedian noted that the film should provide some much-needed momentum heading into the holiday, as it has limited competition, with no major blockbuster openings until Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” on Dec. 16.
“Positive reception should help propel this film forward in the weeks to come as fans embrace the heartfelt pursuit of Black Panther’s story and the MCU’s move into its next phase,” Robbins of BoxOffice.com said.
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