Walt Disney’s Black Panther earned another $8.4 million in its eighth weekend of domestic release, dropping just 26% and snagging the 11th-biggest eighth weekend (sans inflation) and bringing its 52-day domestic cume to $665.4m.
It is now past the $659m lifetime gross of Titanic (again, sans inflation) and is now the third-biggest domestic earner of all time. And on this specific list, that’s where the journey will likely end.
No, I don’t see the Chadwick Boseman superhero movie finding another $95m and sneaking past the $760m domestic cume of Avatar and the once-in-a-lifetime $937m gross of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out of the question.
As mentioned yesterday, while it’s important to note higher ticket prices and various upcharges for PLF screens, D-Box, 3D and the like, the theatrical experience becomes less and less of a dominant entertainment option every year.
Yes, ticket prices are a lot higher than they were in 1998 or 1968, but there were a heck of a lot less distractions from the theatrical experience (DVD, YouTube, Hulu, etc.) than there are today.
That Black Panther has sold around 72 million tickets over seven weeks in a “Netflix-and-Chill” world an astonishing achievement, especially for a film that so explicitly bucks conventional wisdom about what makes a hit movie.
Black Panther is currently the 34th-biggest inflation-adjusted grosser. It has already sold more tickets than any Sony/Columbia/TriStar release, any Lionsgate/Summit flick and anything out of DreamWorks Animation. If it gets past The Dark Knight ($534 million in 2008/$684m adjusted), it will A) be the second-biggest comic book flick behind The Avengers ($623m in 2012/$706m adjusted) and B) have sold more tickets than any Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. offering save for The Exorcist.
It’s it passes that arbitrary milestone, it’ll be the 30th-biggest “adjusted for inflation” grosser and T’Challa will be able to brag that he’s bigger than Batman and bigger than James Bond (sorry, Thunderball).
Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s action drama just missed the $1.3 billion worldwide mark, ending the frame with (eye-roll) $1.2999b. It is the 10th-biggest global grosser, between Frozen ($1.277b in 2013/2014) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($1.33b in 2017/2018).
It just might get past the last Star Wars film (if not the last Harry Potter flick, which earned $1.43b in 2011). Considering the inexplicably negative press that The Last Jedi got for “only” grossing $1.33b, it might not be in Disney’s interest for the Star Wars flick to be taken down a notch. Moreover, the higher Black Panther gets, the more Infinity War must gross to avoid negative press.
Yes, this is insane, but that’s where Disney is right now. Black Panther doing as well as it has further puts Star Wars on the defensive while in turn upping the expectations for Avengers: Infinity War to a greater degree than if the Boseman flick had “only” earned $800 million worldwide.
That’s not exactly a problem, but even if it is there are worse problems for a studio to have. On the plus side, it means a genuine whiff like A Wrinkle in Time, made with the best intentions and primed to become a future generational kid-friendly “classic” (think Hook or Labyrinth), doesn’t sting that much.