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‘Black Panther’ Tops Lifetime Gross Of Marvel, DC, And X-Men Movies

Mark Hughes , CONTRIBUTOR I write about films, especially superhero films, & Hollywood.

With $426 million at the worldwide box office after a slow rollout overseas and a record-shattering domestic bow over the holiday weekend, Marvel Studio’s blockbuster superhero release Black Panther is heading for a big second weekend performance. By close of business Sunday, it will leap into at least the top-12 all-time superhero grosses in North America, if not higher, and a worldwide tally approaching $600+/- million.

Source: Marvel Studios
Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman star in Marvel’s “Black Panther”

Black Panther’s four-day domestic cume passed $241 million, instantly exceeding the lifetime theatrical domestic takes of recent superhero pictures Justice League and Logan, as well as the North American totals for more than 1/3 of all MCU titles (Doctor Strange, Thor: The Dark World, Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk) and every Fox X-Men franchise release except Deadpool.

After next weekend, director Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed hit will have amassed approximately $330-350+/- million in domestic theaters, but with big enough weekday attendance figures and a stronger hold on its second weekend, it might even Deadpool for that #11 position on the all-time domestic box office list. That ranking would also put it ahead of all but two of Sony’s six Spider-Man pictures (including the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming), and every DCEU release except Wonder Woman. Remember, we’re talking about Black Panther’s position just 10 days into domestic release.

Inevitably, Black Panther will climb much higher, on its way to a stateside total sure to exceed $400 million and possibly as high as $440+ million, depending on how front-loaded it turns out to be. The data strongly suggests a final domestic multiplier closer to 2.2x range (meaning the three-day opening weekend box office multiplied by 2.2), which would push it to $444 million. If it’s slightly more front-loaded and has bigger weekly drops on par with Batman v Superman (which had a 1.99x multiplier) it would still finish with $402 million in North America. That’s the “worst-case” at this point. A moderate mid-range might be $424 million from a 2.1x final multiplier, or a higher-end $464 million haul if it manages a 2.3x multiplier.

Source: Marvel Studios
Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright star in Marvel Studio’s “Black Panther”

Notice, we aren’t even talking about the possibility it could play more like Suicide Squad’s 2.3+x multiplier, Guardians of the Galaxy’s 3.5+x multiplier, Deadpool’s 2.7+x multiplier, or Wonder Woman’s 3.99+x multiplier. Those films all wowed with openings bigger than expected, having tremendous buzz and positive word of mouth that gave them phenomenally strong legs even when facing significant competition from other new releases. Should Black Panther prove to be similarly suited for a marathon run, then it could very realistically approach $500 million in domestic receipts.

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That might sound crazy, but an awful lot of people thought a $200 million three-day opening in February sounded crazy, too, but here we are. So while I’m inclined to think a more typical MCU multiplier is more likely, I think a 2.4x or 2.5x result is definitely within the realm of possibility, and that would put Black Panther over $480+ million and give it a solid chance at $500+ million. So just remember, it won’t even take a particularly bigger-than-usual result for the film to reach those heights.

Every reasonable equation now puts Black Panther well within the all-time top-10 grossing superhero releases at the North American box office, at position #8 or #9 on the lower end of probable performance, or as high #5 on the moderate-higher end of potential (meaning a 2.2 multiplier). A 2.3x multiplier would lift Black Panther to the #3 all-time domestic box office spot, behind only The Avengers and The Dark Knight.

Source: Marvel Studios
Winston Duke stars in Marvel’s “Black Panther”

Not counting Avengers films, Black Panther will probably become the highest-grossing release in the MCU, unless it really does have a worst-case 1.99x multiplier leaving it about $7 million shy of Iron Man 3. Most likely, though, it will finish at least north of $420 million to claim the #5 all-time position.

Worldwide, I expect a roughly 50/50 split between domestic and foreign receipts, give or take a couple of percentage points. That would translate to a global cume of roughly $840+ million to $880+ million, depending on Black Panther’s final domestic numbers and how well it plays in certain remaining markets. There’s a good chance it will top $900 million, but we have to see how it holds the next couple of weeks before we can really be sure if $900 million is more likely than not.

Source: Marvel Studios
Exclusive Dolby Cinemas poster for Marvel’s “Black Panther”

But even if Black Panther does wind up with that worst-case 1.99x multiplier domestically, and if the foreign receipts are actually slightly behind domestic sales, Black Panther is going to wind up in the $800 million range, which is undeniably a massive success, giving Marvel Studios its fourth straight $800+ million title in two years. Since we can expect Avengers: Infinity War to cross the $1 billion mark, that means Marvel’s $800+ million streak will inevitably extend to five films a few months from now.

Black Panther remains the best-reviewed live-action superhero movie of all time, the fifth-biggest opening weekend in history, and is destined to be one of the biggest success stories of the year. Its impressive opening weekend, and its ability to overtake so many previous blockbusters in a matter of days, is just the beginning.

Box office figures and tallies based on data via Box Office Mojo , Rentrak, and TheNumbers.

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