‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ eyes $180 million opening weekend, highest November debut ever

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” snared an estimated $180 million during its domestic debut, earning it the record for the biggest opener in the month of November and the second-highest opener of 2022.

The long-awaited sequel to the 2018 smash hit “Black Panther” generated strong word of mouth heading into its opening weekend, with critics praising the film for honoring the late Chadwick Boseman and pushing the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the future.

“Wakanda Forever” is estimated to pull in 12.7 million patrons this weekend, according to data from EntTelligence. Only Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has pulled in more moviegoers, bringing in 13.7 million during its opening weekend in May.

“Multiverse of Madness” is also the film that currently holds the record for the highest opening in 2022, with $187 million. If “Wakanda Forever” sees a surge in ticket sales Sunday, it could surpass that figure.

The film has already outperformed “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which tallied $158 million during its debut in 2013, which was the highest November opening of all time.

Fueling ticket sales was an influx of African American and Hispanic moviegoers that flocked to cinemas during the weekend. Like “Black Panther,” “Wakanda Forever” features a predominately Black cast, but it also has several Hispanic actors. These two demographics were immensely important to the box office success of the first film.

EntTelligence estimates that 36% of ticket buyers were African American, more than double the demographic typically represents for other Marvel films. The Hispanic audience accounted for 13% of ticket sales. 

‘Wakanda Forever’ is living up to expectations as not just an important tentpole blockbuster for Disney and movie theaters, but also a memorial to Chadwick Boseman that fans are sharing and experiencing together,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

The film also arrived in the theaters during a lull in the theatrical calendar, offering a much-needed boost to the industry.

“After weeks of a post-summer slowdown, ‘Wakanda Forever’ delivered a strong reminder of the power of an epic Marvel movie to deliver blockbuster-style revenue to movie theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

“Wakanda Forever” represented 94% of all foot traffic at theaters domestically and accounted for nearly 100% of all premium format showings over the weekend, according to EntTelligence data.

Comscore’s Dergarabedian noted that the film should spark some much-needed momentum heading into the holidays, as it has limited competition, with no major blockbusters opening until Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” on Dec. 16.

“Positive reception should help propel this film in the weeks ahead as fans embrace the heartfelt continuation of the Black Panther story and the MCU moves forward into its next phase,” said Robbins of BoxOffice.com.

Sophie Tremblay

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