February 17, 2018

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Black Panther” A Super Hero Indeed


BLACK PANTHER (Marvel/Disney) is, in a word, colossal.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, opening day was $76.6M (including $25.2M from Thursday night), which would make it the #8 opening day of all time, and the highest non-Avengers opening day in Marvel history.  Let’s remember, though, that it’s impossible to tell from opening day alone how front-loaded an event movie is going to be:  The Avengers had a 2.6x weekend multiplier, while the final Harry Potter was at 1.9x.  Black Panther will also be skewed by the 4-day Presidents Day Weekend holiday.  Deadpool, which until now was the highest grossing Presidents Day opener, had a 2.8x multiple over 3 days, and 3.2x over 4, although it had an R rating that attracted an older audience, its holiday weekend also included Valentine’s Day, and its opening day was only 62% of Black Panther‘s.  If we scale those multipliers down a bit, a fair 3-day weekend estimate for Black Panther may be $190M, with $225M by Monday, but $215M/$245M isn’t impossible.  That would put its 3-day weekend in the Top 6 of all time at least, and possibly the Top 3.  A US total over $400M seems like a sure thing, and the number could easily go to $500M+.  (Last year, Wonder Woman quadrupled its opening weekend.)  In a way, though, none of those numbers will be as important as the international results, where Black Panther (opening in all major territories this week except Russia, China and Japan) can overturn decades of conventional wisdom that says films with a predominantly black cast will hit a box office wall overseas.  The one thing that’s abundantly clear at this point is that the only question on Black Panther will be how big big can be.

EARLY MAN (Lionsgate) hoped to counterprogram to family audiences, but didn’t even manage $900K on Friday, and may get to $3.5M by Sunday and $5M by Monday.  Instead, families went to PETER RABBIT (Sony Animation/Columbia/Sony), down just 26% from last Friday to $4.2M, and heading for $20M by Sunday, $25M by Monday, and a $90M US total.

The only other quasi-wide opening was the Christian-aimed SAMSON (Pure Flix), with $600K on Friday for $2M by Sunday and $2.5M by Monday.

50 SHADES FREED (Perfect World/Universal) toppled by 69% from last Friday to $5.7M, steady with the result for 50 Shades Darker.  That suggests $20M over the 3=day weekend and $22M including Monday, for a $100M US total, down 15% from the last installment.

THE 15:17 TO PARIS (Village Roadshow/Warners) dropped 43% to $2.1M on Friday, for a $8M 3-day weekend and $10M over 4 days, aiming at $50M in the US.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Columbia/Sony) dipped just 17% on its 9th Friday to $1.9M, and it should take in $10M over the 3-day weekend and $12M by Monday, as it heads toward a remarkable $400M US total.  THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (20th) was similarly steady in its 9th weekend, down 19% to $1.3M on Friday, for a $5.5M 3-day weekend and $7M by Monday, on its way to $170M in the US.

THE MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (20th) fell 56% from last Friday to $650K, and should have $3M by Sunday and $3.5M by Monday, heading toward $60M in the US.

THE POST (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/20th) is the last survivor of a lengthy Oscar season to have a place in the Top 10, down 46% from last Friday to $450K, with a $2M 3-day weekend and $2.5M over 4 days, as it continues to pace toward $80M in the US.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."