“Black Panther,” Marvel’s first film directed by an African-American, brought in an estimated $201.8 million for its three-day debut in North America this weekend. That’s the fifth biggest opening of all time.
The opening for the film starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan did not just shatter expectations; it broke multiple box office records too.
It blew away the record for the largest opening for an African-American director. That belonged to F. Gary Gray and
“The Fate of the Furious,” which opened to $98 million last April.
Disney estimates that the film will bring in $235 million domestically for the four day holiday weekend. The film brought in an opening of more than $360 million around the world before revised estimates. Final global totals will be announced on Tuesday, according to the studio.
“Black Panther” also shattered the record for an opening in February, which belonged to “Deadpool,” the R-rated superhero film from 20th Century Fox that brought in $132 million when it opened in 2016.
The opening was the fifth highest-earning of any film, according to Disney. The only other movies that have brought in more are Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers, according to The Associated Press.
Black Panther’s massive marketing campaign didn’t hurt — The New York Times reports Disney spent nine months promoting it — but it also had the advantage of a built-in fan base. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the story to Marvel Comics’ readers back in the 1960s.
Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa and Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and is directed by Ryan Coogler. At age 31, Coogler helped make history. The Times reports Black Panther is the highest-grossing film ever by a black director.
The film has received stellar reviews from critics and audiences alike, with a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
It tells the story of T’Challa, described by Marvel as “righteous king, noble Avenger,” who rules the fictional and technologically-rich African nation of Wakanda and finds his leadership put to the test.
Coogler told Morning Edition’s David Greene that in this day and age, the medium of superhero films is myth-making. “That’s why these movies make a lot money,” he said. “That’s why people talk about them, you know what I mean, people dress up as them.”
Disney approved a $200 million production budget for Black Panther, reports the Times, a figure the film has already brought in and more, with an estimated $361 million raked in globally in its opening weekend.
Filmgoers the world-over also conveyed their enthusiasm by dressing the part, in Wakanda-inspired outfits.
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