Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has only just hit theaters, but it’s already off to an auspicious start at the box office. Deadline reports that the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel has already achieved $28 million from Thursday night previews, surpassing the Thursday night preview gross for the 2018 original film.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Races Out The Gates For Thursday Previews
“Wakanda Forever” bringing in $28 million for its Thursday previews actually surpasses the original “Black Panther,” which brought in $25.2 million for its Thursday showings. Currently, the Thursday night preview gross now ranks third for the year behind only Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” at $36 million and “Thor: Love and Thunder” at $29 million.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” performed solidly with critics ahead of its release, with the film earning a “Certified Fresh” rating of 84% at Rotten Tomatoes. As reported by The Blast, the film was already tracking for a huge opening weekend of an estimated $175 million.
If those estimates hold, it would give Marvel Studios the No. 1 and No. 2 box office opening weekends of the year, with the first being Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” That film opened in May with an opening weekend of $187.4 million. Deadline also notes that “Wakanda Forever” is currently tracking at an opening weekend of $175 million to $200 million.
Additionally, Deadline reports that the Thursday night preview gross for “Wakanda Forever” ranks as the 15th overall in industry history. Six of those top 15 also belong to MCU films. The Deadline report also notes that ticket sales for the film account for more than 80% of online movie ticket retailers for Veterans Day (Nov. 11). That would appear to suggest another huge Friday box office gross for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
The original “Black Panther” opened on President’s Day Weekend in February 2018, so it was a different time of year. The film ended up grossing $202 million for its three-day weekend and $242 million for the extended holiday weekend.
In short, it looks like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is poised to bring in a hefty opening weekend at the box office, and it could potentially outperform initial projections. However, that will largely depend on audiences and overall word of mouth.
The new sequel depicts the heroes of Wakanda and its allies facing a new threat following the loss of King T’Challa, aka the Black Panther. Wakanda has now lost its protector and king, but they are now threatened by an underwater civilization called Talokan and its ruler, Namor.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” stars Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Dominique Thorne, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, and Martin Freeman. Ryan Coogler returns as director and co-wrote the screenplay along with Joe Robert Cole. It’s playing now in theaters.
“Wakanda Forever” will serve as the last theatrical feature of Marvel’s Phase 4 releases of what’s now being called “The Multiverse Saga.” Phase 4 will conclude later this month following the debut of “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” on Disney+, which bows on November 25.
The MCU will kick off its upcoming Phase 5 of “The Multiverse Saga” with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” The film shrinks into theaters on February 17, 2023.