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Black Panther

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Black Panther handily took the top spot at Friday’s box office with a massive $28.8 million. As Scott Mendelson noted this morning, that’s only a 43 percent drop from last Friday if you subtract the $25.2 million in Thursday previews (which Disney has not, because that combined $75.8 million opening day is a nice figure to brag about). Black Panther’s second Friday also brings its eight-day domestic haul to $320.8 million, which is the fourth-highest ever behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($321.3m), Jurassic World ($325.5m) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($440.1m), and more than $20 million ahead of the fifth-place finisher, The Avengers ($299.2m).

If Black Panther maintains its current pace through Sunday, it should become the fourth movie to break $100 million in its second weekend, surpassing The Last Jedi’s 10-day gross and staying within arm’s reach of Jurassic World. (It’s no match for The Force Awakens, but you can’t have everything.) But even if Black Panther trails Jurassic World and The Force Awakens from here on out, it’s still a more impressive box office success story than both of them.Ryan Coogler’s universally acclaimed superhero flick has already exceeded its most charitable box office expectations by a long shot. There’s simply no precedent for a standalone film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe performing this way. Behind The Avengers’ final domestic gross ($623m) and Age of Ultron ($459m), the highest-grossing entry in the MCU is Iron Man 3 ($409m), which Black Panther should surpass by Monday, or Tuesday at the absolute latest. Even with Avengers: Infinity War coming in less than three months, Black Panther still enticed fans to come out in record-breaking droves thanks to its savvy marketing, rave reviews and promise to shake up the well-worn superhero movie formula.

The fact that Black Panther has gone toe-to-toe with mega-blockbusters like The Last Jedi and Jurassic World is even more impressive considering that, despite existing within the MCU, it’s still the first in its series. Jurassic World capitalized off three previous films in the franchise and 14 years of pent-up anticipation since Jurassic Park III. Meanwhile, The Force Awakens came a decade after the tepidly received Revenge of the Sith, by which point fans had long given up on seeing the franchise make amends for its critically reviled prequel trilogy. It’s unrealistic to compare any movie to The Force Awakens’ jaw-dropping $936 million domestic haul, and it’s doubtful that any film will challenge that record, even future Star Wars movies. The Last Jedi makes a much better comparison point, as fans had already accepted that Star Wars was here to stay and could temper their expectations accordingly. In that context, it’s incredible that King T’Challa and the people of Wakanda could give Luke, Leia and Chewie a run for their money.

In fact, Black Panther performed almost identically to The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi on Saturday and Sunday of its opening weekend, which means those films only performed substantially better in their first three days because they were incredibly front-loaded. The Force Awakens pulled $119 million on its first day and dropped 42.7 on Saturday, while The Last Jedi raked in $104.6 million and fell 38.9 percent on Saturday. Black Panther, on the other hand, only fell 13.1 percent from Friday to Saturday and actually outgrossed The Last Jedi on Saturday and Sunday. (The Force Awakens still made slightly more on Saturday and Sunday; you can see a full daily rundown here.) If Black Panther hadn’t come out over President’s Day weekend and lodged the all-time highest Monday gross, it’s possible that it could have topped The Last Jedi’s $220 million opening weekend.If you haven’t heard: Black Panther is already one of the biggest movies of recent years. It exceeded sizable expectations in its opening weekend, making nearly $100 million more than predicted. It has now delivered the biggest opening week of any Marvel movie ever—including The Avengers.

Black Panther’s domestic total for its first seven days brings it to $292 million, per Variety, $22 million more than The Avengers made in its first week back in 2012. It’s also made $228 million internationally for a $520 million worldwide total. Normally, movies in this class experience a 45 percent to 55 percent drop in ticket sales, which would indicate that its second weekend would make Black Panther around $83 million to $95 million. There remains, of course, every chance that the movie might beat these expectations, too.

The week before Black Panther opened, it was predicted that, with ticket pre-sales, the movie might make $120 million in its first few days over the President’s Day holiday weekend, which would have been nothing to sneeze at. The movie made $218 million, the biggest opening for a black director ever, and the biggest February debut of all time. It’s a huge success for Marvel Studios already, and, with an audience demographic that was 37 percent black, singlehandedly defies the Hollywood myth that blockbusters must cater to audiences that are white and male to turn a profit.

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