This image released by Disney shows Lupita Nyong’o, left, and Letitia Wright in a scene from Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther.” (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)

‘Black Panther’ blows away box office with $192M weekend

In estimates Sunday, Disney predicted a four-day holiday weekend of $218 million domestically and a global debut of $361 million.

A wave of feverish anticipation, fawning critical acclaim and groundbreaking cultural meaning pushed “Black Panther” to a record-setting $192 million debut in U.S. and Canada theatres, firmly establishing the superhero sensation as a box-office landmark.

The Marvel film from the Walt Disney Co. blew past expectations to become the fifth-highest-grossing debut ever, not adjusting for inflation, following only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” ”Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” ”Jurassic World” and “The Avengers.”

In estimates Sunday, Disney predicted a four-day holiday weekend of $218 million domestically and a global debut of $361 million.

Though the film’s international footprint doesn’t include several of the largest markets — China, Russia and Japan — it still ranks among the top 15 global debuts ever. It’s also the highest-grossing February opening weekend.

“All hail the King of Wakanda!” Disney declared, referring to the movie’s mythical and highly advanced African nation.

Ryan Coogler’s film, which cost about $200 million to make, is the most expensive movie with a largely black ensemble and among the few to be centred on a black superhero. The strong opening suggests “Black Panther” will easily set a box-office record for films directed by a black filmmaker.

The previous best is Sidney Poitier’s 1980 comedy “Stir Crazy,” which took in $322 million domestically, when inflation is calculated.

“Black Panther” set pre-sale records and saw lines around theatres over the weekend, including some who came costumed for the event.

“This is the very definition of a blockbuster: People lining up around the block to see a great movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “A movie like ‘Black Panther’ is a cultural event that nothing on the small screen can really match in that way.”

RELATED: The Movie Guy: What’s coming to theatres in 2018

Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa/Black Panther in the first stand-alone film for the superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. The cast also features Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright.

The movie has been hugely acclaimed, with a 97 per cent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences agreed, giving it an A-plus CinemaScore. The film especially resonated among African-Americans, who made up 37 per cent of moviegoers, according to comScore.

Dave Hollis, distribution chief for Disney, called the film’s success “a real source of pride” for Disney.

“Inclusion and representation matters,” Hollis said. “We know that great stories can come from anywhere, and our goal is to make films that reflect the wonderful diversity of our world and resonate with audiences everywhere — no matter who they are, no matter where they come from.”

Coming at one of the slower periods of the year, “Black Panther” benefited from little competition, and it can be expected to dominate the marketplace for weeks.

Last week’s top film, the erotic romance sequel “Fifty Shades Freed,” slid to third place, with $16.9 million in its second week for Universal. Sony’s children’s book adaptation “Peter Rabbit” held much stronger, taking the No. 2 spot with $17.3 million in its second week.

But moviegoers — and Hollywood — were focused on “Black Panther,” including how it would fare overseas. Though considered by most to be an outdated myth, some have claimed that foreign audiences have less appetite for films with largely black casts.

“Black Panther” vanquished those notions with $169 million in ticket sales. It was No. 1 in most international markets, though “Fifty Shades Freed” bested it in Germany.

Its release in China will come later. This weekend, the Chinese New Year holiday, local productions led by “Detective Chinatown 2” and “Monster Hunt 2” dominated Chinese theatres, with more than $140 million in ticket sales each.

“Black Panther” also performed especially well on large-format screens. Imax reported $30 million in ticket sales for the three-day weekend.

“There was a groundswell of wanting this movie to work, and then when it actually did as a film, itself, it just kicked it up a notch to a level no one could have ever predicted,” said Greg Foster, Imax Entertainment’s chief executive. “That makes me feel really good about the movie business.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. “Black Panther,” $192 million ($169 million international).

2. “Peter Rabbit,” $17.3 million.

3. “Fifty Shades Freed,” $16.9 million ($47.7 million international).

4. “Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle,” $7.9 million ($4.8 million international).

5. “The 15:17 to Paris,” $7.7 million ($2.8 million international).

6. “The Greatest Showman,” $5.1 million ($9.6 million international).

7. “Early Man,” $3.2 million ($3.7 million international).

8. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $2.5 million ($11 million international).

9. “Winchester,” $2.2 million.

10. “Samson,” $2 million.

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. “Black Panther,” $169 million.

2. “Detective Chinatown 2,” $155 million.

3. “Monster Hunt 2,” $141 million.

4. “Operation Red Sea,” $70.3 million.

5. “The Monkey King 3: Kingdom of Women,” $52.3 million.

6. “Fifty Shades Freed,” $47.7 million.

7. “Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink,” $32.6 million.

8. “The Shape of Water,” $12.3 million.

9. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $11 million.

10. “The Greatest Showman,” $9.6 million.

___

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Alberni Black Sheep win match against Island rivals

Black Sheep squared off against the Nanaimo Hornets for TC Cup action

11th annual Magic Cottage kicks off this weekend in Port Alberni

Cottage will be open over two weekends in November

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read