Movies & TV / News

411 Box Office Report: Black Panther Smashes Down Competition

February 18, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Black Panther 3

Marvel’s Black Panther reigned supreme at the box office, beating all expectations for a phenomenal first weekend. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film opened to a $192 million start for the three-day weekend and $225.7 million over the four-day weekend for a historic start. The opening makes the film Marvel’s second-best three-day opener of all time, edging Avengers: Age of Ultron’s $191.3 million bow in May of 2015 and behind only The Avengers’ $207.4 million debut in 2012. It is also the fifth-best opening of all-time, and beats out all Marvel solo franchise starters with ease. The next-closest among those films was Spider-Man: Homecoming which premiered to a $117.4 million opening last July. The film notches the best February opening by a long shot as well, besting Deadpool’s $132.4 million opening in 2015.

There’s no other way to put it than this: these are huge, huge numbers. Around the middle of last week, analysts were predicting a $170 million three-day weekend. Panther obviously flew way past that thanks to almost unprecedented hype. The film set the record for the most tickets pre-sold for an MCU film in its first day back in early January. Pre-sales were trending above those for the previous record-holder Captain America: Civil War. That’s all down to hype, but things got even crazier once critics weighed in with huge praise. At 97%, the film has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet. That critical praise helped shoot the film to the highest it acheived.

But it’s more than just critic hype and marketing. Audiences loved the film too, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore. For reference, only The Avengers has acheived that mark among the MCU. That word of mouth translated to provable box office returns, as the film saw a tiny 13% slip from Friday to Saturday…and that’s when you count the $25.2 million Thursday preview grosses in with Friday. Sunday was also strong with a slip of just 24%, which are incredibly encouraging for the film’s box office legs. To put it succinctly (too late), audience loved this film and it’s clearly one of Marvel’s most successful films yet.

Of course, the big question is always how far the film will ultimately go. The answer is harder to say, other than “very far.” The multiples for Marvel’s biggest openers have varied from The Avengers (3.0) to Age of Ultron (2.4) to Iron Man 3 (2.34) to Civil War (2.28). Black Panther has the advantage of a weaker competition slate than those films, having opened in February and not the blockbuster months of summer. If we assume a 2.5 multiplier — and it could go much higher — the film would total in the $480 million range domestically. $475 is a conservative estimate, with $500 million-plus possible. Either way, these are huge numbers for the Ryan Coogler film. It also added a very good $169 million overseas for a $361 million start. The budget for this one was $200 million.

Serving as counter-programming in its second week, Peter Rabbit was #2 again with $17.3 million. That’s a drop of 31%, which is pretty good for the live-action/animated hybrid adaptation of the Beatrix Potter character. The film is now sitting at $48.2 million domestically and should be able to make it to around $80 million. Foreign grosses will drive this $50 million budgeted-film to profit.

To no one’s surprise, Fifty Shades Freed was pushed down to #3 in its second week with $16.9 million. That gives the film a 56% from from last weekend’s opening, which is comparable to the 57% drop that Fifty Shades Darker started with last year. It’s much better than the 74% second-weekend drop of the first film. Freed is up to $76.1 million domestically and $266.9 million worldwide, making it a very profitable way for Universal to close this franchise out. It should make it up to around $105 million in the US on a $55 million budget.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle came in next with $7.9 million. The action-comedy refuses to tap out and slipped just 21% from last week. It now has $377.6 million domestically and $904.6 million worldwide. At this point it’s not impossible that the film could actually hit $400 million domestically. The budget for this mega-hit was $90 million.

Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris was off 39% in its second weekend with $7.7 million. That would not be a bad hold if the film hadn’t started so low. As it stands now, there’s plenty of adult-friendly or action content on the big screen and audiences are going to see those instead of this one. It’s up to $25.4 million domestically and $36.1 million overseas, disappointing numbers on both counts. It should hit around $40 million to $45 million and will be vaguely profitable on a $30 million budget.

The Greatest Showman hung in there, dropping just 21% to $5.1 million. The improbably-strong box office performance has brought the movie to $154.8 million domestically and $340.1 million worldwide, making it a nicely profitable venture for Fox on a $84 million budget. It should be able to make it to around $170 million domestically.

Lionsgate’s stop-motion animated film Early Man was crushed under the weight of Black Panther and Peter Rabbit, opening with a whisper at $3.5 million. The film, which hails from Wallace & Gromit studio Aardman, opened below the modest $5 million expectations. It will likely bring in money overseas, where these films always derive their profits, while here in the US a $10 million final gross seems optimistic. The budget was $50 million.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure was off 59% in its fourth weekend to $2.5 million. The final film in the Maze Runner franchise has now grossed $54 million domestically and $259.2 million worldwide. The film still counts as a hit, albeit a minor one, from its $65 million budget. It should finish off with around $60 million in the US.

Winchester fell heavily in its third weekend, down 57% to $2.2 million. That’s not expected after the film held on fairly well last weekend. The period horror flick is at $21.9 million domestically and should finish up at around $28 million. That should be enough for Lionsgate to avoid losing money on it.

Religious action film Samson finished out the top ten by opening at #10 with $2 million. That again is below even the modest mid-single digit predictions. The film is DOA with critics (27% on RT) and it didn’t open in enough theaters to generate a CinemaScore. It’ll top out at around $8 million to $10 million. Whether that will be enough for profit remains to be seen.

Black Panther will dominate again next week, beating out new films Game Night and Annihilation with ease. Both films are looking for $14 million to $18 million. Orion’s Every Day will be lucky if it crosses $5 million.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Black Panther – $192 million ($192 million total)
2. Peter Rabbit – $17.3 million ($48.2 million total)
3. Fifty Shades Freed – $16.9 million ($76.1 million total)
4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – $7.9 million ($377.6 total)
5. The 15:17 to Paris – $7.7 million ($25.4 million total)
6. The Greatest Showman – $3.2 million ($154.5 million total)
7. Early Man – $3.2 million ($3.2 million total)
8. Maze Runner: The Death Cure – $2.5 million ($54 million total)
9. Winchester – $2.2 million ($21.9 million total)
10. Samson – $2 million ($2 million total)