'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' Soars to $180M Domestic Debut Amid Marvel Dominance

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Soars to $180M Domestic Debut Amid Marvel Dominance

Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soared to $180 million last weekend, bringing its worldwide total to $330 million, according to Disney (DIS) estimates.

The results exceeded Disney’s opening weekend expectations of $175 million and fell down from Box Office Pro’s estimate of $170 million to $205 million.

Shares of AMC (AMC) soared on the news, up 10% in early morning trading after CEO Adam Aron tweeted that the film “set an American record for the biggest movie opening November in AMC’s 102-year history.”

Overall, the film should generate a significant amount of holiday ticket sales, especially amid the recent lull in the Hollywood pipeline.

“It’s a potential momentum builder that I think theaters and studios have been counting the days for,” Box Office Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins told Yahoo Finance.

‘Wakanda Forever’ is now the third-best debut title since the pandemic began, behind the $260 million debut of ‘Spider-Man No Way Home’ and ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ at $187 million. . On top of that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe now accounts for nine of the top 15 opening weekends of all time.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

For comparison, the original “Black Panther” had a domestic opening of $202 million in 2018 before ending its theatrical run at $700.1 million domestically and $1.35 billion in the domestic market. world.

Robbins added that “Wakanda Forever” has the potential to expand beyond just Marvel’s fanbase, as he noted the film’s cultural significance.

“‘Black Panther’ was the first major black superhero and now, with a predominantly black cast for the sequel, that’s very significant,” Robbins said. “We can’t underestimate how much this will expand beyond the usual Marvel fans who show up and what it means for diversity and for the movie-going population.”

Despite the sequel’s lower start, the results were praised by industry insiders given the film’s longer runtime of 2 hours and 41 minutes, in addition to the untimely passing of original lead star Chadwick Boseman, who does not appear in the sequel.

The film drew 12.7 million viewers last weekend with an audience of 53% male and 47% female, according to estimates from box office analytics platform EntTelligence.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was the only other film in 2022 that was able to attract more ticket buyers – around 13.7 million moviegoers in total.

Domestic ticket prices averaged $13.71 in the United States, with premium tickets costing $17.24 while non-premium tickets cost $12.63, EntTelligence noted. The top five markets visited were Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago.

Disney’s “Avatar” (courtesy 20th Century Studios)

After “Wakanda Forever,” the next big movie hitting theaters is James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” (out Dec. 16), which Robbins says will set theaters up for a solid sprint into 2023.

“At that point, when the schedule changes, things start to look a little more normal,” he said. “There might be a few slow spots in January, but they won’t compare in any way to how slow things were last winter.”

IMAX (IMAX) CEO Richard Gelfond struck a similarly upbeat tone regarding the upcoming debut of “Avatar,” referencing the original’s stunning performance 13 years ago during a an interview with Yahoo Finance Live.

“[Avatar] is still our highest-grossing film of all time,” Gelfond said, noting that IMAX theaters have only grown since then. “It’s a different game for us, and I think the fourth quarter is going to show that people are coming back to the movies in pretty significant numbers. »

Alexandra is a senior entertainment and media reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at [email protected]

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