The Disney-Marvel movie “Black Panther,” which finds the superheroic T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returning to his remote African kingdom to assume the throne, roared into theaters over the weekend as a full-blown cultural event, breaking box office records and shattering a myth about the overseas viability of movies rooted in black culture. Global ticket sales by Monday will total an estimated $387 million, according to comScore.
“Black Panther” instantly became the top-grossing film in history by a black director (Ryan Coogler) and featuring a largely black cast. The previous record-holder was “Straight Outta Compton,” which collected $214 million worldwide in 2015 — over its entire run — after adjusting for inflation.
Disney, which supported “Black Panther” with a lavish nine-month marketing campaign, said on Sunday that ticket sales for the film in North America will total roughly $218 million between Friday and Monday. Theaters scrambled to add show times to accommodate crowds; AMC Southlake 24 in suburban Atlanta squeezed in 84 show times on Friday alone. In many cities, moviegoers arrived in outfits inspired by the film.
Analysts had expected “Black Panther” to arrive to about $165 million in North American ticket sales, which would itself have been an astounding result for a release outside the holiday and summer corridors. The previous domestic record-holder for a February release was “Deadpool,” which collected an adjusted $159 million over Presidents’ Day weekend in 2016.
North American audiences appeared to love “Black Panther” as much as critics, signaling a strong run ahead. The euphorically reviewed film received a rare A-plus grade from ticket buyers in CinemaScore exit polls. Black viewers made up about 37 percent of the domestic turnout, according to PostTrak, fueled by large numbers of church and school groups, not to mention pent-up demand for a superhero film led by black actors.