Weekend Forecast (Update): Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Poised to Shred Box Office Records, Targeting Possible $200M+ 4-Day Launch

Thursday, 2/15 Update: As Black Panther continues to roar across the spectrum of pre-release tracking metrics, final models are pointing to a potential four-day opening weekend near $200 million or more.

Again, it’s crucial to keep in mind the fact that only a handful of films have ever tracked at this level of demand, so comparisons are few and far between with a number of variables to consider (many of which are outlined in the original report below). Nevertheless, our target range has increased and expanded to the realm of $190M-$215M over the four-day weekend. As always, the margins for error dictate that a final gross slightly lower or higher than that range is within reason.

Regardless of the actual number at this point, it’s clear that Panther is on the verge of a monumental performance that is very likely to stand among the most impressive openings of all-time.

Our official forecast has been updated in the table below.

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Wednesday, 2/14: T’Challa’s time is now, and Marvel is about to stun the world again.

This weekend sees the release of the hugely anticipated Black Panther, marking the 18th chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Representing the first tentpole superhero film led by a black actor, a predominantly black cast, and a black writer/director (Ryan Coogler of Creed and Fruitvale Station fame), the film has already begun capturing the cultural zeitgeist. Based on our pre-release forecasting models, the movie is pacing for a four-day Presidents Day weekend record launch. The most likely range stands at $170 million to $180 million, but all bets are off with this film and the ceiling could potentially be even higher.

Similar to the incredible run of last year’s Wonder Woman and that film’s breakout box office run as the first female-driven superhero movie in the modern era, Black Panther is compounding the advantages of the usual built-in comic book fan base and its studio’s own incredible streak of success (including three straight $300 million+ domestic earners in 2017) with the timely release of the kind of film that has been demanded for years. First appearing in the Fantastic Four #52 issue back in July 1966, T’Challa/Black Panther has amassed a loyal following over the past half-century that makes this film a generational event for fans.

Reports from Fandango have been nothing short of stellar as the film remains on pace to become both the company’s best superhero and overall first quarter pre-seller in history, besting the likes of last year’s Beauty and the Beast and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Sales have been robust since they first began in early January, but each wave of marketing has reinforced Panther‘s momentum — including its current 98 percent score from over 150 Rotten Tomatoes critics.

Social media buzz is similarly powerful. Our internal models have tracked 33 percent more relevant mentions for Black Panther than Deadpool during the comparable time frame leading up to opening day. That’s quite a comparison when considering the Merc with a Mouth’s groundbreaking social media campaign spearheaded by star Ryan Reynolds, credited for transforming the once-obscure character into a household name before the film had even screened. For further notable comparison, Black Panther is holding its own against another Disney juggernaut brand: T’Challa’s first film is on a similar pace with the Twitter activity of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Keeping Perspective on Panther

In fairness, films tracking at this high of a level are historically difficult for forecasts to pinpoint, particularly as audiences continue to pre-purchase their tickets at an increasing rate. Make no mistake: the film will be a runaway success with staying power ahead of it even if Panther falls short of increasingly bullish projections.

For example, Disney itself is expecting around $150 million over the four-day period, which would put it in line with Deadpool‘s $152.2 million Presidents Day weekend launch two years ago. That film enjoyed a strong Sunday boost thanks to Valentine’s Day — which Black Panther won’t benefit from.

That said, Deadpool limited teenage attendance due to its R rating and lacked 3D showings to boost ticket revenue. Combined with Disney and Marvel’s firmly established appeal to all ages, a family-friendly PG-13 rating, and 3D showings in various formats, Black Panther has considerable potential to offset the lack of a Valentine boost at the box office on Sunday.

Top 10 Comparisons

We’re currently forecasting this weekend’s top ten films will amass close to $284 million over the course of the four-day weekend. That would come in 82 percent ahead of the top ten films during the same holiday frame last year when The LEGO Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker repeated atop the box office in their second frames, while also breaking the Presidents Day weekend record of $250.98 million — set two years ago during Deadpool‘s opening weekend — by a projected 13 percent.

Check out our weekend forecast below, including fellow openers Early Man and Samson.

Follow Boxoffice and Shawn Robbins on Twitter

Film Distributor 4-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Monday, February 19 % Change from Last Wknd
Black Panther Disney / Marvel $205,000,000 $205,000,000 NEW
Peter Rabbit Sony / Columbia $22,000,000 $53,300,000 -12%
Fifty Shades Freed Universal $18,200,000 $71,000,000 -53%
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sony / Columbia $8,700,000 $377,900,000 -13%
The 15:17 to Paris Warner Bros. $7,600,000 $24,000,000 -39%
Early Man Lionsgate $6,500,000 $6,500,000 NEW
The Greatest Showman Fox $6,000,000 $154,800,000 -7%
Samson Pure Flix $4,000,000 $4,000,000 NEW
Maze Runner: The Death Cure Fox $3,000,000 $54,300,000 -52%
The Shape of Water Fox Searchlight $2,800,000 $54,100,000 -12%

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