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Weekend Box Office: Black Panther Ushers in New Era of Superhero in Record-Breaking Fashion

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By Chris Kavan - 02/18/18 at 07:35 PM CT

There was pretty much no question that Black Panther was going to dominate the weekend, but even the most optimistic predictions were outdone by the outstanding performance of Marvel's latest blockbuster. Along the way, the film broke numerous records. That being said, while Black Panther enjoyed a huge weekend, the same couldn't be said for Early Man or Samson, both of which could muster single-digit openings. I was concerned that Black Panther would spell the end for our holdovers, but Jumanji held out and while The Greatest Showman did finally drop out of the top five, it also continued to impress.


Ryan Coogler had done for black superheros what Wonder Woman did for female superheros - put them front and center and prove, with about a doubt, that people will support them. Black Panther opened with $192 million and is expected to top $218 million following Monday's holiday. That would make it the best February opening of all time, the best opening for a solo superhero launch, best President's Day opening, best Fri-Monday launch and biggest non-sequel of all time. It also means Disney can claim 8 out of top 10 domestic openings of all time. In terms of the MCU, it is the second-best opening behind only The Avengers ($207.4 million). The film earned an "A+" cinemascore and was divided nearly evenly between men (55%) and women. About 61% of that audience was over 25. What all those records and numbers really mean is that not only were audiences not turned off by the cast, the wholly embraced them. If things weren't good enough for Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright - it's about to get a lot better. The film also opened to $169 million overseas, with a global total of $361 million - the fifth largest on record, and without the benefit of China or Japan. If it plays like a typical Marvel film, Black Panther is looking at around $500 million, with a good chance to go higher. It has several weeks ahead of it where it will be relatively unchallenged, so we'll have to see how it holds up.


Final numbers were much more robust as Black Panther ended up with $242 million after four days - the second-best four day opening of all time, just edging out Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($241.5 million) and coming in behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It also topped Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the biggest Monday on record - $40.15 million vs. $40.1 million. It also took second place behind only The Avengers for biggest comic book opening, biggest Marvel opening and biggest superhero movie.


While Black Panther plays to a more adult crowd, families decided that Peter Rabbit was a better bet than Early Man. The animated/live action feature dodged a bit of controversy (surrounding food allergies of all things) and manged to hold strong in its second place position with a $17.25 million weekend (down 31%). It is looking at a holiday total of a bit over $22 million. That means the $50 million film will hit $50 million sometime on Monday. It should have a new more weeks ahead of it and that should be enough for it to make a profit.


The soft-core melodrama fell an expected 56% and landed in third place with $16.94 million, with an expected $19 million by Monday. That gives the final film in the Fifty Shades trilogy a new total of $76.1 million. While it is still trailing the first two films. The film may fall short of $100 million on the domestic front, but its looking much healthier worldwide, where it has already brought in $269 million. It's not going to break any records, but it should be able to round out the trilogy in admirable style.


The 500lb Gorilla stood fast in its fourth place position despite the competition from Black Panther. It held up well itself, dipping just 20.7% and bringing in $8 million for a new total of $377.6 million. That means Jumanji topped Spider-Man 2 to become the second highest-grossing film for Sony behind just the original Spider-Man ($403.7 million). Jumanji hasn't run out of gas yet, and still has a chance to take that title outright. It has also topped $900 million worldwide - $904 million to be exact - placing it second on Sony's worldwide total as well, with just Skyfall ($1.1 billion) ahead of it. We'll see how much gas it has left in the tank to see if it can catch up.

5) THE 15:17 TO PARIS

Clint Eastwood's true-life hero drama rounded out the top five with a $7.68 million weekend (down about 39%) and a new $25.4 million total. That is likely the only milestone this film is going to cross, as it might have a couple more weeks left in theaters, but isn't going to make any more waves. Its international total sits at about $10.7 million, so at least the $30 million film will likely be able to break even.

Outside the top five: Early Man, the latest for Aardman Animation, opened in seventh place with just $3.15 million. The studio was hoping for an opening in the high single digits, but, alas this one failed to meet the opening of Shaun the Sheep ($4 million). Its "B" CInemascore suggest audiences were fine with it, but it's not going to get much of a bump. I expect this one to last a couple of weeks but not much more.

Samson, the latest from PureFlix, opened in 10th place with a mere $1.97 million. The studio was hoping it would rival some of its best films in terms of openings, but it was among the worst instead, falling short of Same Kind of Different as Me ($2.5 million), which itself was considered a disappointing opening. Don't worry - God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness should right the ship.

More films hit some milestones this week: The Post crossed the $75 million mark with a $1.96 million (11th place) weekend and new $76.57 million total. The Shape of Water hit $50 million with a $1.66 million weekend (12th place) and new $53.24 million total. Maze Runner: The Death Cure also crossed $50 million with $2.52 million (8th place) and new $54 million total.

Finally, The Greatest Showman landed outside the top five with sixth place $5.1 million total. The big news, however, is that its total of $154.4 million puts it ahead of La La Land ($151 million) to become the biggest domestic, original live-action musical of all time. It also make sit the fourth-best live action musical since 1974 (not including inflation). Despite falling outside the top five, Greatest Showman still packs the seats and looks to stick around a bit longer.

Next week brings us the trippy sci-fi Annihilation, the comedic Game Night and the sappily-ever-after Every Day.


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