There’s a lot of hype around the impending release of Marvel’s Black Panther in the United States. Ryan Coogler’s entry in the MCU marks the (most likely) most expensive film ever made in Hollywood to feature a majority all African American cast. Though it’s not the first African American lead – don’t forget about Blade series as an example – it certainly has captured the zeitgeist of the U.S. African diaspora with plenty of enthusiasm for a gang busting opening weekend there.
Black Panther exists in this highly fruitful position that the existence of it carries far more currency than the film itself. What the film represents has huge implications. Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) as writer/director translates, it’s topicality translates, the swooning reviews translates, the cast translates (Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis), the current political climate and divisiveness in recent times all play into it. The soundtrack of Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd translates. And, the brand is urban and cool. What a bubble to exist in!
And to just look at Ryan Coogler for a moment critically. His previous two features were winners for critics – Fruitvale Station still posts a 94% fresh score, Creed holds a 95% fresh score, and Black Panther has 98% fresh and it hasn’t even opened yet. What other director can sport that sort of heft on their filmography.
Plus, there’s the engendered Marvel Cinematic Universe faithful who are now genetically disposed to go along and see it.There’s also the fact that the box office in the U.S. has been missing a marquee film for a few weeks now…
So, throw all that into a blender and what do you get fiscally?
Well, the current heavyweight champion in February is Marvel’s 2016 hit release Deadpool which gobbled up $132.4m on its opening weekend. Black Panther is going to annihilate that figure.
For my money, Black Panther is at Iron Man 3/Captain America: Civil War level. This is going to open in the $160-$170m range for its first weekend and around the $400m domestic gross range in the United States. Australia $10m opening weekend – $20m domestic gross. $700-$800m globally life.
This is going to be big, people. REAL BIG.
BLACK PANTHER releases on 15 FEBRUARY, 2018 in AUSTRALIA through DISNEY