'Black Panther' becomes fifth movie to debut to $200 million-plus


It’s a three-for-three success rate for Ryan Coogler, whose follow-up to Fruitvale Station and Creed opened to…. well, “a metric boatload of money” isn’t exactly precise, but it is accurate. Black Panther. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The latest entry in the MCU blew past already-high expectations to gross $201.7 million over the three-day weekend. Add in the Monday holiday, and you have $235 million. (For those keeping track at home, that’s more than Justice League earned during its entire domestic run—after four days.) With international numbers, Black Panther is sitting on a worldwide gross of $404 million, with release still forthcoming in Russia, Japan and China.

Black Panther smashed the records for highest February opening and highest President’s Day weekend opening, both previously held by Deadpool, which debuted to $152.1 million (four-day) in 2016. Its three-day figure also gives it the fifth-highest opening of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) and The Last Jedi ($220 million), Jurassic World ($208.8 million) and The Avengers ($207.4 million). Four of the top-five highest openings of all time belong to Disney movies.

The rest of the top five went to holdovers: Peter Rabbit (three-day gross: 17.6 million; four-day gross: $23.1 million; total gross: $54 million), Fifty Shades Freed (three-day gross: $17.3 million; four-day gross: $19.4 million; total gross: $78.6 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (three-day gross: $7.9 million; four-day gross: $10 million; total gross $379.6 million) and The 15:17 to Paris (three-day gross: $7.6 million; four-day gross $9.1 million; total gross $26.8 million). Interestingly, only Fifty Shades Freed had a drop from the previous weekend of over 40%. Peter Rabbit, in particular, had a quite low second-weekend drop of 29.6%. There’s no way to say for sure, but it’s possible moviegoers settling for other movies after being unable to get into sold-out screenings of Black Panther had an effect.

With good news, alas, comes bad: This marks the first weekend in two months that 20th Century Fox’s little-musical-that-could, The Greatest Showman (three-day gross: $5 million; four-day gross: $6.2 million; total gross $155.6 million), dropped out of the top five. Goodnight, sweet ringmaster, and may flights of elephants take thee to thy rest.

Lagging behind The Greatest Showman in spot number seven was Aardman’s Early Man with a disappointing $3.1 million (three-day) cume. Unable to crack the top ten was faith-based historical epic Samson, which earned only $1.97 over the three-day weekend.

Among limited releases, the highest earner was WB’s Detective Chinatown 2, earning $862,000 over the three-day weekend on 115 screens. Also new to theaters were Monster Hunt 2 ($400,000 three-day on 69 screens), Double Lover ($75,259 on 50 screens), The Party ($45,010 on three screens), Loveless ($40,222 on three screens), Nostalgia ($18,159 on three screens) and The Boy Downstairs ($7,200 on one screen).