This is pretty wild stuff, folks.
Black Panther has grown into something of a sensation. What started off as something like felt like “Just another solo Marvel introduction movie” like Ant-Man or Doctor Strange, has quickly escalated into an outright cinematic event that no one seems to want to miss. Those aforementioned solo origin flicks opened to $57M and $85M, respectively. The prognosticators are now projecting that Black Panther could open north of $150 Million! Mind you, that’s for a four-day President’s Day weekend, but that means even the three day total should crush what those films did.
And yet we have a feeling it could do even better than that. Much better, in fact.
Black Panther has been on people’s radars ever since Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, and it looks like that interest has grown into an insatiable desire to visit Wakanda.
According to Fandango’s Erik Davis, Black Panther is outpacing every other superhero movie ever in terms of pre-sales. He pointed out that even the epic DC crossover event, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice– which featured the first time we’d ever see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman share the same screen- didn’t sell quite like this.
Something working in its favor is its performance in the metric known as “awareness.” Awareness measures how many people seemingly know about a film’s existence; If it’s on their radar at all. Because step one for getting someone to buy a ticket is making sure they know about the dang thing! And Black Panther‘s awareness is insane. Variety is reporting that T’Challa’s first solo adventure is at an awareness of “88%, unaided awareness at 43%, and definite interest at 57%”
So people everywhere know about the film, and- more importantly- most of them want to see the film.
This can truly become a historic moment, similar to what Wonder Woman achieved last year. Just as DC’s heroine was welcomed with loving arms by moviegoers dying to see a female superhero do all the things usually reserved for her male counterparts, there’s a cultural moment brewing around the idea of the first major black superhero getting a chance to shine. The fact that it’s being released right in the heart of Black History Month here in the states is also a stroke of marketing genius.
The talent involved in this production is jaw-dropping, and it’s almost entirely made up of African and African-American artists. Boseman is surrounded by a cast that includes Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Forest Whitaker as Zuri, and Danai Gurira as Okoye, and that’s directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station).
What could blow this thing to truly historic levels are the types of audiences that Wonder Woman drew- as in non-traditional moviegoers. Those are the people who don’t typically go to the movies, much less for a typical superhero flick, but will come out to see a film like this out of curiosity because of the cultural moment its having. Those kinds of people don’t show up on tracking. They don’t buy tickets in advance, or tweet about movies. They’re off-the-grid in terms of traditional means of measuring interest. But then once the movie is out…they show up in droves and all the predictions fly right out the window. That’s why all of Wonder Woman‘s projections fell way short, and why the film had incredible legs.
If Black Panther really taps into that group, we could be looking at an opening even higher than these sky-high estimates. Dare I say something like $175M? Yes, I dare do.
Black Panther arrives on February 16.