Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios
Black Panther was making history before release – it's the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an African-American lead – and it continued to do so since release on Friday. The latest superhero chapter from Disney-Marvel amassed $192 million (about Rs. 1,239 crore) in the US during the opening weekend, beating the February record held by Deadpool. Overall, that makes Black Panther the fifth-highest opening of all-time in America, behind Avengers in fourth ($207 million), and ahead of Age of Ultron in sixth ($191 million), not accounting for inflation. The two recent Star Wars – The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi – lead the way, followed by Jurassic World in third.
Outside the US, Black Panther added another $169 million (about Rs. 1,090.8 crore), bringing the worldwide opening weekend total to $361 million (about Rs. 2,330 crore). That puts Black Panther fifteenth on the list of all-time worldwide box office openings, behind fellow Marvel entries in Avengers (9th), Age of Ultron (10th), Captain America: Civil War (13th), and Iron Man 3 (14th).
South Korea was the biggest earner internationally for Black Panther, with $25.3 million (Rs. 163.3 crore). The city of Busan serves as a location for the film, so clearly that has drawn Korean audiences. Next was the UK/ Ireland with $24.8 (Rs. 160 crore). In India, Black Panther had grossed Rs. 15.71 crore (about $2.43 million) till Saturday.
Black Panther was also good for IMAX in the opening weekend, picking up $52 million (about Rs. 335.7 crore) from IMAX screens around the world. "Representation matters. Get Out, Wonder Woman, Coco, and now Black Panther show Hollywood that authenticity and inclusiveness wins," Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster said.
Black Panther has yet to open in some international markets, including Russia (February 22), Japan (March 1), and China (March 9).
"There are seven billion people on this planet and they come from all walks of life," Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis said in a statement."Audiences deserve to see themselves reflected on the big screen. Beyond being the right thing to do, it makes for richer storytelling."
Disney is predicting a $218 million-plus (about Rs. 1,407 crore) haul for the four-day US holiday period ending Monday, thanks to President's Day. Though the studio hasn't revealed Black Panther's official budget, estimates put it around $200 million (about Rs. 1,291 crore) before marketing.
Black Panther's success isn't just a case of representation. It's an all-out winner – we called it "the king of Marvel movies" – and currently holds first place in the superhero realm on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes (97 percent) and Metacritic (88 score).