Black Panther is about to jump up two spots on the all-time domestic box office rankings. With an estimated $10.2M on Friday, Black Panther enters Saturday with approximately $531M domestic. That means it will pass both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($532.2M) and The Dark Knight ($534.9M) today for seventh place all-time in North America.
The Ryan Coogler-directed film only trails The Avengers ($623.4M) on the domestic charts for movies based on superheroes. Black Panther is still on pace, though, to eventually take first place. Passing The Dark Knight already makes Black Panther the highest-grossing standalone superhero movie.
As my Twitter mentions will surely tell me, The Dark Knight made over $680M domestically when we account for inflation. Based on the difference in ticket prices from 2008 to 2018, that is true, but inflation is not factored into the official, all-time box office rankings and for good reason.
Mathematical equations can often have multiple unknown variables. Adjusting for inflation, especially for films that were released a decade apart, only solves for one variable in an equation with several. Accounting for changes in ticket prices does not cover the vastly different marketplaces in which The Dark Knight and Black Panther were released.
All-time box office rankings are simply a feather in the cap. They are worth noting as a new film climbs the latter, but certainly not worth getting upset about or defending vigorously.
The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan has already shown his support for Black Panther. He predicted a Best Picture Oscar® nomination for the film earlier this week.