New York — Black Panther scored one of the best second weekends ever with an estimated $108m in ticket sales, putting it on track to rank among the highest-grossing blockbusters ever.
Ryan Coogler’s Marvel sensation is on a box-office course that few films have managed, according to studio estimates Sunday. It is only the fourth film to earn $100m in its second weekend, along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149.2m), Jurassic World ($106.6m) and The Avengers ($103.1m).
Black Panther has grossed $400m domestically and $704m worldwide in two weeks. The film, starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, has held even better overseas, where it dropped 42 percent this weekend. Its release in China, the world’s second-largest film market, is set for 9 March.
“Whatever your projections for Black Panther might be, just increase them by 20 percent and you might be on point,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “Now the question isn’t so much if it gets to $1bn, but how far beyond that number does it go.”
The results so far put it in the company of Jurassic World, which ended up grossing $1.67bn worldwide, and The Avengers,”which ultimately hauled in $1.52bn. Both rank among the top five of all time, not accounting for inflation.
Black Panther is spurring a surge for the industry. The overall box office is up 12.5 percent from last year, according to comScore.
And the movie is doing it with an especially diverse audience. This weekend’s audience was 33 percent African-American, 37 percent Caucasian, 18 percent Hispanic and 7 percent Asian, according to comScore.
The film’s success didn’t appear to hurt the handful of new releases.
Faring the best was Game Night, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, from Warner Bros.′ New Line. The comedy, which cost about $37m to make and was directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, debuted with $16.6m, coming in slightly above forecasts.
Though comedies have struggled at the box office in recent years, Game Night got a modest boost from good reviews and perhaps from the waves of moviegoers brought in by Black Panther.
“It’s that whole ‘a rising tide floats all boats,’” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution head for Warner Bros.
“The whole (comedy) genre is just really troubled,” he added. “New Line is, I think, particularly good at teasing these movies out to be the best versions of them. They’ve had a lot of success in the past, whether it be Horrible Bosses or Central Intelligence.”
Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman, also debuted with some momentum thanks to strong reviews. It opened with $11m on about 2 000 screens (or about half the number of Black Panther).
Paramount earlier sold the film’s international rights (except in China) to Netflix after disappointing reactions in test screenings. Opening weekend audiences largely responded similarly, giving the film a poor C CinemaScore.
It’s not uncommon for studios to offload international rights to recoup their costs. But selling an ambitious film from Garland, writer-director of 2015′s acclaimed Ex Machina, to Netflix was seen by some as a sign of diminishing aspirations for a Hollywood major studio.
Annihilation, an unusually challenging and psychedelic sci-fi release for a major studio, cost about $40m to produce. It’s among the last releases green-lit by previous Paramount head Brad Grey. Jim Gianopulos took over as chief executive and chairman last year, and he is pushing a more franchise-focused agenda.
Kyle Davies, Paramount’s domestic distribution chief, declined to comment on the Netflix deal but said he was pleased with the film’s performance.
“Alex is a very talented filmmaker, and he’s created this mind-bending experience,” Davies said. “And I think there’s going to be a lot of chatter and a lot of buzz that will propel the movie into the spring moviegoing season.”
Also opening was the micro-budget young adult romance Every Day, the first release from Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s rebooted Orion Pictures. The film, which cost less than $5m to make, debuted with $3.1m in ticket sales.