Disney took full advantage of the Friday Veterans Day holiday to launch Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, which earned a massive $84M on its opening day. This surpassed the $75.7M in ticket sales for the original BLACK PANTHER on its opening Friday 2/16/2018.
Results from the rest of the weekend came somewhat back to earth, winding up with $180M for the opening three days, 89% of the $202M the original BLACK PANTHER earned in its opening weekend.
BLACK PANTHER 2 could not have arrived at a more critical time for the industry. both Disney and AMC announced disappointing earnings last week, causing some to question the long-term viability of moviegoing. It was a welcome counterpoint to see this level of interest in the sequel to the sixth-highest domestic-grossing film of all time.
Ranking Marvel movie opening weekends, WAKANDA FOREVER slots in between CAPTAIN AMERICA at $179M and DR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS at $187M. Those movies went on to a Domestic total of $408M and $411M respectively. With a reported production budget of $250M, BLACK PANTHER 2 still has a long way to go to reach profitability, but it has many strengths that will boost its earnings potential.
First, everyone seems to like the movie, with critics giving it 84% and audiences 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, the lackluster upcoming release schedule should help WAKANDA FOREVER stay at the top of the box office charts for the next five weeks until AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER opens on 12/16. Finally, it will stand unopposed during the historically lucrative Thanksgiving weekend.
BLACK ADAM finished in second place with $8.6M. It was a pleasant surprise to see a drop of only 53% in its fourth weekend. One might have thought that DC’s BLACK ADAM would have an even steeper decline when going up against BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, a Marvel movie that appeals to the same audience.
Perhaps WAKANDA FOREVER created a buzz for the superhero genre in general, and with many BLACK PANTHER showtimes sold out moviegoers turned to BLACK ADAM as a “nearly as good” second choice. Regardless, it’s a positive for BLACK ADAM since it has somewhat underperformed since it opened on 10/21.
TICKET TO PARADISE took third place with $6.1M, followed by LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE with $3.2M, and SMILE with $2.3M. All three films represent unique genres among the movies currently in theatres, with PARADISE for fans of romcoms, LYLE for families, and SMILE for horror seekers.
All have also been successful throughout their overall run in theatres, with PARADISE earning $56.5M, LYLE with $40.8M, and SMILE with a whopping $102.8M. Last week’s #2 movie ONE PIECE FILM: RED suffered the week two crash that is typical for anime films in the U.S. market, coming in 8th place with only $1.4M, a drop of 84% from last week’s debut.
Our watch on limited releases this week does not involve an independent picture from a specialty distributor. In a strategically targeted move, Universal released Steven Spielberg’s THE FABELMANS in four theatres in N.Y. and L.A. The director’s deeply personal storyline depicts a young man coming of age while exploring movies and filmmaking.
It’s ironic that Spielberg’s studio partner Universal is following a slow-build, platform release strategy for this autobiographical story of one the most commercially successful directors in movie history. The four theatres grossed $160K, which divides out to a very strong $40K per theatre average.
THE FABELMANS’ next expansion is set for Wednesday 11/23 when it will open at 600 additional theatres for Thanksgiving weekend. After receiving rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics (95%) and audiences (90%), Universal may choose to accelerate its rollout to open at more theatres earlier than planned.