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Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has already raced past $45 million in advance U.S. box office ticket sales, and there are several days to go before the highly anticipated Marvel Studios sequel officially opens in roughly 4,300 cinemas domestically.
Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek touted the strength of advance sales during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday. “Ryan Coogler has delivered another culture-defining film … evidenced by advance ticket sales,” Chapek told investors. (Chapek himself didn’t immediately mention a dollar figure, which was instead confirmed by sources to The Hollywood Reporter.)
On Wednesday, Wakanda Forever begins its international rollout on its way to opening everywhere by the weekend (excluding China and Russia). Projections show the tentpole opening to at least $175 million domestically — some exhibitors are suggesting $185 million to $200 million — and anywhere from $155 million to $195 million at the international box office.
As of Sunday, Wakanda Forever‘s advance ticket sales in the U.S. stood at $45 million, which is more than Thor: Love and Thunder but behind the (frontloaded) Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, according to Disney insiders. By Friday, advance ticket sales for the Wakanda Forever number could be in the $60 million-$65 million range, which would rank above the $55 million collected by the first Black Panther.
Coogler’s groundbreaking Black Panther made history when debuting to $202 million domestically over the Feb. 16-18 weekend in 2018. The film was the first Hollywood studio tentpole to feature a predominantly Black cast and transformed into a cultural phenomenon on its way to earning more than $1.34 billion at the worldwide box office.
The sequel’s journey to the big screen endured its own tragedy when Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular role of T’Challa/Black Panther in the 2018 film, died of colon cancer in August 2020. Wakanda Forever’s cast includes Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba and Martin Freeman, as well as Marvel newcomer Tenoch Huerta as Namor and Dominique Thorne as the hero Riri Williams.
Among superhero movies released in the pandemic era, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opened to $187.4 million in early May of this year, while Thor: Love and Thunder scored $144.2 million in July (both were from Marvel/Disney). In March 2022, DC and Warner Bros.’ The Batman flew to $134 million in its launch. More recently, DC’s Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson in his first live-action superhero role, opened to a more subdued $67 million domestically.
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