Film fans were Marvel-ing over the success of “Black Panther,” the blockbuster superhero flick that raked in an estimated $192 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the first three days of Presidents’ Day weekend, breaking box office records and shattering Hollywood myths.
Disney is already projecting a $218.2 million four-day domestic total and $361 million worldwide, blowing past expectations. It’s also the highest-grossing February opening weekend.
Rooted deeply in black culture, the Disney-Marvel movie — starring Chadwick Boseman as a superhero prince of the fictional African nation Wakanda in a battle to regain his country’s throne — was more than a box-office phenomenon.
It was a cultural event.
“Black Panther” walked away with the fifth-best opening weekend ever.
“Inclusion and representation matters,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief.
“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.”
And it wasn’t just black people flocking to see the movie. An audience survey by comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak found that moviegoers were 37% African-American, 35% white, 18% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 5% other ethnicities.
“Black Panther” clawed away at its closest competition, the live-action “Peter Rabbit,” which finished a distant second with $17.3 million in its secondweek.
It was this time a year ago that comedian-turned-director Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” was receiving critical acclaim for its use of a horror movie backdrop to explore racial tensions.