Box Office: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Wakes Up Holiday Season Early

Thanksgiving, folks, came early this time around in November. And it cannot be understated how much this shot of adrenaline was needed as we await the last few blockbusters to hit for the remainder of 2022.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stormed all around, earning $180 million in its debut weekend. That makes it the second-highest weekend of the year (slightly behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). It also demolished the previous record, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s $158 million, held for the highest-opening weekend in November. An additional $150 million came from 55 overseas markets, putting the anticipated sequel at $330 million worldwide. It’s the eighth-highest opening for an MCU title, narrowly beating out Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million), and the third-highest for a pure MCU sequel (behind Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange 2).

The success was expected after its predecessor wowed with a $200 million opening weekend, paving the way for brighter outlooks of the ever-expanding superhero genre. However, this sequel’s undercurrent stood bittersweet due to the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 and the heavy implications for the Black Panther sequels and position in the Marvel universe. Director Ryan Coogler reoriented the feature to become a tribute to Boseman and told a sorrowful story around his character’s death and the consequences forthcoming for the kingdom of Wakanda. He will be missed with great pain as the series must forge on in Boseman’s absence. The legs the film has may be on par with its predecessor, and we may look at a total domestic cume of $500-600 million once all is wrapped up. Not much competition lies in its trajectory for the next few weeks (outside of Strange World), so Black Panther 2 should coast well until James Cameron has a say about that.

Black Adam dropped to second place with $8.6 million, putting its domestic total at $151 million. The Dwayne Johnson picture has not been legging out substantially and has barely been beating Eternals‘ pace. Its worldwide total is at $336 million, meaning that a bridge for half a billion dollars is too far to grasp. We’re probably looking at a finish of $175-180 million domestically and $390-400 million worldwide, pushing the notion that it might not break even.

Ticket to Paradise has been holding up pretty well, dropping 29% for a $6.1 million weekend and $56 domestic total. George Clooney and Julia Roberts keep the ball rolling with their star power in a light rom-com narrative. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile took fourth place with $3.2 million.

Smile has become a breakout horror star of the year, passing $100 million domestically recently and becoming the highest-grossing horror film of the pandemic (passing Jordan Peele’s Nope) with relative ease. Sosie Bacon might need to consider some more horror roles after this. The film now stands at over $210 million worldwide and may have some more juice to get past $225 million.

Next weekend sees the drop of She Said, The Menu, and The Inspection. Disenchanted drops on Disney+ while Slumberland heads to Netflix.

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