‘Black Panther’ Storms Toward Record-Setting $200 Million-Plus Box Office Opening

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Earlier this week, rival studios and analysts told TheWrap that a $200 million four-day opening for “Black Panther” was fully in the realm of possibility. After an opening day total of $75.8 million from 4,020 screens, that target is now very likely, with analysts also now expecting Ryan Coogler’s superhero film to set a new record for the biggest pre-summer opening weekend in box office history, currently held by last year’s “Beauty and the Beast” with $174.7 million.

On Thursday, “Black Panther” made a whopping $25.2 million in preview screenings, just behind the $27.6 million made by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” for second among all Marvel films. Now, “Black Panther” might pass “Age of Ultron”‘s $204 million four-day start, with estimates for its President’s Day opening ranging between $200-210 million. Three-day weekend estimates are currently set at $180-185 million, which would not only set the new pre-summer opening record, but would also be the sixth-highest opening weekend of all-time and the biggest opening weekend for a superhero movie outside the two “Avengers” films.

The critical reception for “Black Panther” has also been history-making, as the film now holds the highest score in Rotten Tomatoes history for a superhero movie with 97 percent. On top of that, opening night audiences gave the film an A+ in CinemaScore polls, putting “Black Panther” alongside “The Avengers” as the only two MCU films to earn an A+.

Elsewhere on the charts, last week’s openers “Peter Rabbit” and “Fifty Shades Freed” are neck-and-neck for a very distant second place finish. “Peter Rabbit” is currently estimated for a $17 million three-day/$22 million four-day second weekend after making $4 million on its second Friday. That’s just a 28 percent drop-off from its $25 million opening and would give Sony’s hybrid animated film a $54 million 11-day total. Universal’s “Fifty Shades Freed,” after making $10.8 million on Valentine’s Day, is looking at a $16.6/$18.5 million second weekend, which would give it a total of around $77 million by the end of the weekend, 15 percent behind the pace for “Fifty Shades Darker.”

In fourth is “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which will become Sony’s second-highest grossing film of all-time with an $8.3/$10.9 million weekend. That will push its total to $380 million, passing “Spider-Man 2” on the studio charts. It also puts the film in position to pass “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” for the No. 4 spot on the 2017 domestic charts sometime next week.

WB/Village Roadshow’s “15:17 to Paris” completes the top five this weekend with an estimated second frame of $7.3/$9.8 million, which would give the film an 11-day total of $27 million. Just below it is Fox’s “The Greatest Showman,” which finally exited the top five in its ninth weekend in theaters with an estimated $6.6 million four-day total. However, this is still a big weekend for the Hugh Jackman musical, as it will pass the domestic total of “La La Land” with an estimated $155 million cume.

The only two wide releases daring to open against “Black Panther” this weekend were the Lionsgate/Aardman stop-motion animation film “Early Man” and the Pure Flix faith-based film “Samson.” “Early Man” is currently sitting in the No. 7 spot with an estimated four-day opening of $5 million from 2,494 screens, while “Samson” is No. 11 with $2.2 million from 1,249 screens.

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