Weekend Box Office: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Leads for Fifth Consecutive Frame

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"); Universal ("Violent Night")

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, scheduled to open next week, can’t come soon enough. This weekend’s total box office came in around $35.0M, the second-lowest weekend of 2022, only about $100K ahead of the $34.88M weekend from January 28-30.

When box office actuals are reported on Monday afternoon, if the total comes in slightly lower than originally projected in Sunday morning estimates, it could easily dip below to claim the lowest weekend total of 2022.

This weekend’s slow traffic at the domestic box office was once again headlined by Disney’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in a frame once again dominated with showtimes of films with more than three weeks in release.

No new films debuted in 1,500+ theaters this weekend, after only one such film debuted last weekend.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In its fifth frame, Disney and Marvel Studios’ superhero sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever captured the top spot yet again, with a -37% decline to $11.1M.

Last weekend, it became the first film to notch at least four weekends on top in almost a year, since Spider-Man: No Way Home did so in January. Home would ultimately spend six weekends on top.

However, Home’s #1 weekends were non-consecutive: first four of them, then a one-weekend drop to second place behind Scream, then back to two more weekends at #1.

This makes Wakanda the first film with five consecutive weekends at #1 since 2018’s original Black Panther in early 2018.

Wakanda has now earned the:

  • #13 opening weekend of all time ($181.3M)
  • #27 second weekend of all time ($66.4M)
  • #13 third weekend of all time ($45.5M)
  • A sharp drop to the #80 fourth weekend of all time ($17.5M)
  • Now, the #95 fifth weekend of all time

Among Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, it’s earned the:

  • #8 opening weekend
  • #10 second weekend
  • #6 third weekend
  • #11 fourth weekend 
  • Now, the #10 fifth weekend

Compared to 2018’s original Black Panther, Wakanda’s weekends have come in:

  • Opening weekend: -10%
  • Second weekend: -40%
  • Third weekend: -31%
  • Fourth weekend: a notably steeper -57%
  • Fifth weekend: -58%

Through 31 days, Wakanda has now earned $409.8M total. Through the equivalent point in release, that’s:

  • -32% behind 2018’s Black Panther ($605.0M)
  • -21% behind May’s Top Gun: Maverick ($520.8M)
  • +5% above May’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($388.6M)
  • +17% above March’s The Batman ($349.2M)
  • +29% above July’s Thor: Love and Thunder ($316.1M)

Wakanda was running behind Multiverse through their first 11 days, but overtook it on their respective 12th days of release.

Wakanda was running ahead of Maverick through their first nine days, but fell behind on their respective 10th days of release.

Wakanda is currently the #3 film released in 2022, behind Maverick and Multiverse.

Overseas, Wakanda has earned $358.0M, for a $767.8M global total. That’s the #6 global title released in 2022 so far, behind Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, Multiverse, Minions: The Rise of Gru, and The Batman.

Violent Night

Last weekend, Violent Night, Universal’s R-rated action thriller about Santa Claus, opened in second place with $13.4M, above pre-release projections.

In its sophomore frame, it remains in second place with a -35% decline to $8.7M. That’s about in line with weekend projections.

Compared to the sophomore drops for other adult-themed holiday movies, that’s milder than:

  • 2003’s Bad Santa (-43%)
  • 2016’s Bad Santa 2 (-47%)
  • 2016’s Office Christmas Party (-49%)

However, it’s steeper than 2017’s A Bad Moms Christmas (-32%).

Overseas, Night has earned $15.0M in 72 markets, for a $41.7M global total.

The Whale

A24’s awards contender drama The Whale earned the top per-theater average of 2022 so far, with an estimated $360K opening weekend in a limited release of six theaters.

At $60,000, that considerably exceeds the previous 2022 record: March’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, with a $50,131 average.

Brendan Fraser is considered the top frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Whale.

The current top 10 per-theater opening weekend averages of 2022:

  1. The Whale ($60,000)
  2. Everything Everywhere All at Once ($50,131)
  3. The Banshees of Inisherin ($46,114)
  4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($41,337)
  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($41,251)
  6. The Fabelmans ($40,395)
  7. TÁR ($39,655)
  8. Bodies Bodies Bodies ($37,776)
  9. The Worst Person in the World ($34,606)
  10. Thor: Love and Thunder ($32,952)

The Fabelmans

Last weekend, in its second wide frame, Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans dropped -44% to $1.2M and eighth place.

Compared to the sophomore weekend drops for other Steven Spielberg films aimed at a more adult audience, that was steeper than:

  • 1998’s Saving Private Ryan (-23%)
  • 2015’s Bridge of Spies (-26%)
  • 1997’s Amistad (-28%)
  • 2002’s Catch Me If You Can (-30%)
  • 2004’s The Terminal (-31%)
  • 2005’s Munich (-33%)
  • 2017’s The Post (-39%)
  • 2011’s War Horse (-40%)

However, it was a milder drop than for 2012’s Lincoln (-48%) and 2021’s West Side Story (-65%).

But now in its third wide frame, The Fabelmans declines a scant -7%, the mildest percentage drop of any film at the box office this weekend.

That’s helped by the film’s +52% theater count, from 638 to 973, its widest release to date.

I Heard the Bells

Last week, faith-based holiday season historical drama I Heard the Bells debuted on Thursday, earning an estimated $2.0M weekend for sixth place.

Fathom Events, in partnership with Sight & Sound Films, released the biopic of 1800s poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, timed to the season as the title references a line from his 1863 poem Christmas Bells.

This weekend, it falls -62% to $750K.

Compared to the sophomore drops for other faith-based holiday releases from Fathom Events, that’s milder than both:

  • 2021’s Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers (-71%)
  • November’s The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 (-82%)

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $35.0M, which is:

  • -33% below last weekend’s total ($52.6M), when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever led for a fourth consecutive frame with $17.5M.
  • Also -33% below the equivalent weekend weekend in 2021 ($52.7M), when Encanto led for a second frame with $13.1M.
  • -61% below the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($90.3M), when Frozen II led for a third consecutive frame with $35.1M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $6.85B. That’s:

  • +86.8% above this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($3.66B), down from +88.8% after last weekend.
  • -33.9% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($10.36B), down from -33.6% after last weekend. The peak was around -29.5%, set in mid-July.

Top distributors

  1. Universal ($1.45B)
  2. Disney ($1.32B)
  3. Paramount ($1.28B)
  4. Warner Bros. ($933.1M)
  5. Sony Pictures ($846.0M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever $11,100,000 -37% 3,725 -130 $2,980 $409,810,778 5 Walt Disney
Violent Night $8,700,000 -35% 3,723 41 $2,337 $26,694,315 2 Universal
Strange World $3,600,000 -29% 3,560 -614 $1,011 $30,453,692 3 Walt Disney
The Menu $2,700,000 -22% 2,710 -100 $996 $29,027,758 4 Searchlight
Devotion $2,000,000 -27% 3,458 53 $578 $16,972,419 3 Sony Pictures
Black Adam $1,340,000 -14% 2,143 -88 $625 $166,873,377 8 Warner Bros.
The Fabelmans $1,180,000 -7% 973 335 $1,213 $7,329,966 5 Universal
Spoiler Alert $700,000 744% 783 777 $894 $802,593 2 Focus Features
Ticket to Paradise $600,000 -30% 1,394 -321 $430 $67,514,205 8 Universal
Bones and All $564,052 -53% 1,707 -1,020 $330 $7,267,557 4 United Artists
Top Gun: Maverick $445,000 -34% 1,223 -641 $364 $718,519,000 29 Paramount
The Whale $360,000   6   $60,000 $360,000 1 A24
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile $325,000 -19% 933 -343 $348 $46,176,319 10 Sony Pictures
Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time $280,550   726   $386 $280,550 2 GKIDS
The Mean One $220,000   162   $1,358 $251,477 1  
She Said $171,000 -58% 478 -639 $358 $5,688,015 4 Universal
Prey for the Devil $165,000 -11% 286 -59 $577 $19,632,907 7 Lionsgate
Empire of Light $160,000   110   $1,455 $160,000 1 Searchlight
The Banshees of Inisherin $152,000 -36% 270 -50 $563 $8,553,807 8 Searchlight
Smile $107,000 -34% 278 -88 $385 $105,899,000 11 Paramount
TÁR $55,000 -37% 80 -17 $688 $5,360,658 10 Focus Features
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed $45,500 31% 35 25 $1,300 $155,708 3 Neon
EO $38,500 46% 14 8 $2,750 $142,968 4 Janus Films
Holy Spider $10,568 -29% 18 3 $587 $184,068 7 Utopia

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