Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hunted down a stellar $28 million in Thursday previews, among the top 15 preview grosses of all time, according to Comscore.
Wakanda Forever paced ahead of the $25 million earned in previews by the first Black Panther, and performed in the same range as this summer’s fellow Marvel pic Thor: Love and Thunder ($29 million). And it’s well ahead of 2022 superhero pics including The Batman ($21.6 million) or the more recent Black Adam ($7.6 million), both from DC.
By Friday, filmmaker Ryan Coolger’s highly anticipated Black Panther sequel will be playing in more than 4,300 theaters domestically, including Imax and premium large format screens.
Projections show the tentpole opening to at least $175 million domestically — some exhibitors are suggesting $185 million to $200 million — and anywhere from $155 million to $195 million at the international box office (that excludes China and Russia). On Wednesday, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in its grossing 17 material markets, grossing an early $10.1 mllion.
As of Sunday, Wakanda Forever‘s advance ticket sales in the U.S. stood at $45 million, which is more than Thor: Love and Thunder but behind the (frontloaded) Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, according to Disney insiders. By Friday, advance ticket sales for the Wakanda Forever number could be in the $60 million-$65 million range, which would rank above the $55 million collected by the first Black Panther.
Coogler’s groundbreaking Black Panther made history when debuting to $202 million domestically over the Feb. 16-18 weekend in 2018. The film was the first Hollywood studio tentpole to feature a predominantly Black cast and transformed into a cultural phenomenon on its way to earning more than $1.34 billion at the worldwide box office.
Among superhero movies released in the pandemic era, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opened to $187.4 million in early May of this year, while Thor: Love and Thunder scored $144.2 million in July (both were from Marvel/Disney). In March 2022, DC and Warner Bros.’ The Batman flew to $134 million in its launch. More recently, DC’s Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson in his first live-action superhero role, opened to a more subdued $67 million domestically.
The sequel’s journey to the big screen endured its own tragedy when Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular role of T’Challa/Black Panther in the 2018 film, died of colon cancer in August 2020. Wakanda Forever’s cast includes Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba and Martin Freeman, as well as Marvel newcomer Tenoch Huerta as Namor and Dominique Thorne as the hero Riri Williams.