With $108M 2nd Weekend, ‘Black Panther’ Claws Way Through Box Office Records

Marvel's superhero flick keeps crown with second biggest second weekend ever.

February 25, 2018 2:09 pm

King T’Challa held on to the box office crown — and it may just be the start of a reign of historic proportions.

Marvel’s Black Panther kept the top spot at the box office in its second weekend, hauling in $108 million. That’s officially the second biggest second weekend in movie history, behind only 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All that cash has helped the superhero flick leap past the $400 million mark domestically in just over 10 days. The film has already earned $704 million globally.

But this is a hero’s journey about more than just dollars and cents. Director Ryan Coogler’s pioneering take on an African superhero has galvanized audiences, giving minority movie-goers unprecedented representation in a genre usually dominated by white caped crusaders. It’s a passion that helped drive Black Panther past 2004’s Passion of the Christ ($370.3 million) as the highest grossing movie in February of all time. So these heady box office numbers mean just about everyone across ethnicities and racial lines are buying tickets.

“The X-factor, something that a studio can’t put into an algorithm, is what this film represents to so many people,” ComScore senior box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told RealClearLife. “In this highly charged political moment, it’s created a conversation — one that takes a movie from being a big box office performer into a sort of transcendent media moment.”

The sight of Chadwick Boseman’s titular hero in action, fighting alongside strong women of color like Danai Gurira’s Okoye, Letitia Wright’s Shuri and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia has clearly meant a lot to a lot of people. The level of box office success has outpaced even the rosiest of tracking projections.

And because Marvel had the foresight (or luck) to release Black Panther in February as opposed to the summer, there’s no cinematic counterpart to Michael B. Jordan’s would-be usurper to challenge for the box office throne anytime soon. The next realistic challenger is director Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, opening March 9. By that time, whichever way the weekend falls, it will be good news for both Disney and audiences of color seeking on-screen representation.

In the meantime, the reign continues. This weekend’s second-place finisher, Warner Bros.’s R-rated comedy, Game Night, opened to $16.6 million — or roughly $91.5 million behind the King.

“We’re in completely uncharted territory,” explained Dergarabedian. “And what makes it even more interesting is we’re sitting here in February, we’re not used to seeing anywhere near these kind of numbers outside of the summer or holiday movie seasons.”

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