By: Megan Farrell
The very anticipated Black Panther released this weekend, starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan has been making worldwide headlines. Making $235 million domestically in its opening weekend, the Marvel film topped the weekend box office, with the controversial “Peter Rabbit” following in its second weekend in theaters generating a mere $23 million.
As of Monday, there was no production budget released, so it is not clear if there was any real profit to the studio, but with the majority of Marvel films costing around $170 million, it seems that Black Panther has pretty good odds of at least breaking even. This is especially reassuring seeing as the only other Marvel films to gross close to this much are The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War, which made $207 million, $191 million, and $179 million, respectively*.
With these three Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films being the closest weekend box office comparable, it is also relevant to note that Black Panther was released in almost 300 less theaters than the others, and even so, had a higher per screen average. Sent out in wide release, Black Panther was shown on 4,020 screens across the country (per screen counts rooms/screens within theaters, so venues that show it in multiple rooms are counted per room, not per venue), and grossed over $50,000 per screen, where the other three earned in the $40,000 range. This per screen average gives the studio a confidence boost, showing that viewers were more motivated to go see the film.
While its MCU sister films catered to a wider fan base, having combined multiple film characters and arcs into one, Black Panther is kicking off a new franchise that was briefly discussed in Captain America: Civil War. However, no other Marvel film that started a new hero’s journey grossed more in its opening weekend. (The original “Thor” comes closest, earning $181 million.)
This uptick of attendance and buzz for the opening weekend can be contributed to a number of factors: Black Panther is the first black Marvel superhero to have his own movie and was widely rumored before its official announcement. Fans were over the moon at not only the representation of the hero of the film, but also of the cast that was not whitewashed.
The fan base of the film was also elevated by the inclusion of rapper Kendrick Lamar, who not only participated in, but in charge of putting it all together. Widely popular himself, Lamar’s work has propelled the soundtrack to the top of the Billboard charts across the country and earning the film even more recognition.
All in all, Black Panther has already broken records for the Marvel franchise, and just as it was hoped that Wonder Woman would increase the production of female led films and characters, Black Panther’s success is hoped to bring more diversity to not only Marvel Studios, but to the superhero genre itself, and in turn, action movies across Hollywood.
*These numbers and statistics from Box Office Mojo