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Filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s critically acclaimed Black Panther continues its historic run-up into theaters, outpacing all previous movies released in the first quarter in terms of advance ticket sales on market leader Fandango.
The tentpole, from Disney and Marvel studios, is beating out previous Q1 champs The Hunger Games (2012) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), according to Fandango. And it’s likewise pacing to be the biggest superhero preseller in Fandango’s 18-year history, eclipsing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
There is still more than a week to go before Black Panther lands in North American theaters Feb. 16.
Advance ticket sales aren’t an exact barometer in terms of how big a movie will open. For example, Batman v. Superman‘s $166 million domestic debut didn’t break any superhero records despite its standing on Fandango. (Marvel’s The Avengers, which opened in May 2012, remains the record-holder for top superhero launch with $207.4 million.)
That’s not to say Black Panther isn’t headed for a massive opening. Hollywood’s major tracking services show the movie debuting in the $130 million to $150 million bracket over the long President’s Day weekend, and that’s before Disney makes its final marketing push.
Currently, Ryan Reynolds’ superhero blockbuster Deadpool (2016) holds the record for top February opening ($132.4 million), while Beauty and the Beast is the March winner with $174.8 million, supplanting The Hunger Games ($152.5 million).
Black Panther is unprecedented in being a big-budget, superhero tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.
“It’s not just a superhero movie, it’s a ground-breaking cultural event,” says Fandango’s Erik Davis.
In addition to brisk individual sales, Davis says Fandango is seeing increased interest from larger groups of ticket buyers.
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