The King of Wakanda is king at the international box office, with a stunning $168.7 million in 48 markets through Sunday. That puts Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther at a global debut of $370.5M, with the actuals on domestic coming in higher. Including Monday’s domestic estimate, the worldwide cume rises above $400M.
The numbers are “insane” is the refrain we heard all weekend as the movie shattered expectations. Most ahead of the opening were seeing $90M-$120M, with some believing it could edge higher, but not to these stratospheric totals. What’s fueling it? The movie is playing to the Marvel faithful, and also brought out the non-core audience. Says one international distribution veteran, “I think it’s so fresh and people are recognizing this, worldwide.”
Part of the reason the estimates were so low is that many saw this as comping to a first stand-alone movie with a character who’s not as well known from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dave Hollis, Disney’s President of Theatrical Distribution, admits the studio didn’t see it rivaling the Avengers movies. “It just didn’t seem possible.” And yet, “the reception in every single way is a reflection of how good a movie this was but there is so much momentum inside the Marvel Studios space.” The consistency with which Marvel scores, encourages moviegoers to go along with them and try new things.
Importantly, the movie clicked with what has been an under-served market. Says Hollis, “Our goal is to make movies that reflect the diversity of our world because those are the stories that resonate everywhere. To have the ability to show other people’s experience is part of the beauty of movies, but it also allows for rich storytelling, and for the people whose experiences are up on the screen, especially if they have not been showcased a ton. The meaningful nature of being able to see yourself represented, those things really matter to everyone, but in this case it matters even more to communities of color. Representation matters and the times we’ve leaned into it, we’ve had massive results.”
The global opening is the No. 15 of all time despite not having China, Japan or Russia in the initial suite. Internationally, Black Panther‘s bow is bigger than Logan and Avatar, and comes in just below X-Men: Days of Future Past. These are at unadjusted rates and in various rollout patterns, so not entirely apples-to-apples, but for an idea where this historic movie will chart.
Black Panther launched at No. 1 in almost all markets. And get this: with $24.9M in the UK, he’s already overtaken the entire run of Justice League, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Ant-Man and Iron Man. He also holds a new record for the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever.
For more details: deadline.com