Black Panther is almost here and expectations for its opening weekend numbers are running wild. The most recent tracking has the film opening at $165M over the four-day President’s Day weekend. Disney’s competition, however, believes the opening could be much, much higher.
Rival studios are now talking about an opening above $180M with high-end estimates putting it over $200M. Black Panther could conceivably hit $175M over its first three days (the traditional Thursday night through Sunday opening frame) with Monday putting it over $200M.
An opening of $180M-$200M would be incredible and it really could happen. It’s important to note, however, that none of these estimates are coming from Disney and Hollywood has a tendency to inflate their opening weekend expectations when it feels like a movie has a lot of momentum.
We have seen last-minute $200M predictions for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War not come to fruition in just the past few years.
This is not to say Black Panther can’t open as high as $200M, as I believe it can. I’ve said all along that regardless of what the tracking is, I’m taking the over (note: the tracking is still $165M over four days). What I don’t want to happen, though, is the construction of any sort of “disappointment” narrative should Black Panther ultimately fall short of these lofty expectations.
Context is everything. The highest domestic opening weekend for any solo franchise debut film from Marvel Studios is still Iron Man ($98.6M) from 2008. Anything over that is a big win for Black Panther. There should be no talk of “disappointment” if Black Panther is a new personal best for Marvel Studios in that regard.
The highest opening weekend for the first film in a solo superhero franchise is Deadpool ($132.4M over three days). The highest opening weekend for a standalone comic book movie franchise debut is Suicide Squad ($133.7M over three days). To clarify, that last one refers to Suicide Squad still being its own franchise despite being a team, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. Those are in a different class than The Avengers or Justice League, as franchises largely made up of characters with their own film series.
Deadpool also owns the four-day President’s Day weekend record with $152.2 million. Should Black Panther eclipse or come anywhere near the three-day numbers of Suicide Squad or the four-day numbers of Deadpool, it would be a remarkable achievement. Anything else would just be icing on the cake.
We will have a much better idea of what Black Panther‘s actual opening weekend will look like after tonight’s opening night screenings.
You can get tickets for Black Panther here.