‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Opens to $180 Million and a Month of Box Office Ownership

Ryan Coogler's MCU sequel hits its marks on opening weekend and gave theaters a much-needed vote of confidence.
(L-R): Alex Livinalli as Attuma and Mabel Cadena as Namora in Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.
"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
Marvel Studios

Among the many impressive opening-weekend statistics for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney) is a per-theater average of $40,946 (4,396 theaters estimated at $180 million), higher than what “The Fabelmans” (Universal) earned in four.

The MCU sequel fell short of the year’s best opening; that remains “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” last May, which debuted to $187 million. However, it’s $36 million better than July’s opening for “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

avatar way of water underwater
“Avatar: The Way of Water”20th Century Studios

With $330 million worldwide in its initial dates (and a reported $250 million budget before marketing), “Wakanda Forever” is off to a good start. Until “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney, again) opens next month, the MCU has the floor. Its A Cinemascore and initial trajectory are positive, but the industry projection of $600 million is not assured.

The gross is remarkable not just for its size but also the makeup of its audience. Industry sources (not confirmed by Disney) say the initial audience was 44 percent Black, 21 percent Latino, 15 percent Asian — all told, 80 percent non-white. White audiences comprised 35 percent of the 2018 “Black Panther.” Marvel was smart to expand its appeal through diversity.

Most MCU box-office rankings are inaccurate since they don’t consider the wide variation in ticket prices. (Since 2019, they’ve increased by at least 20 percent.) For “Wakanda,” its $202 million opening equates to over $240 million now. But a 72 percent take of that puts it in line with similar second time out films that had such a stratospheric opening.

All top 10 films grossed $209 million total, making this the fourth-best week of 2022  as well as the fourth week to reach over $200 million. “Wakanda” represented 86 percent of the total. Our four-week running comparison to 2019 box office rises to 89 percent, the best it has been since late June/July. It’s almost certainly the high-water mark until “Avatar” opens December 16.

November box office totals $303 million so far. November 2019, boosted by a very strong Thanksgiving, grossed $959 million.

"Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile"
“Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile”Sony Pictures Releasing

“Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery) is #2, down 53 percent with $8.6 million and $151 million total. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” (Sony) jumped two spots to #4 and fell only 5 percent. “Ticket to Paradise” (Universal) remains #3, down 29 percent, even as it debuted on PVOD this week. “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight) added a few additional theaters and fell only 17 percent, a decent hold above most specialized fall releases.

Also opening was “The Fabelmans” (Universal), with Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical film taking in $160,000 in four theaters.

“Yashoda” (CGX), a Telugu-language Indian thriller, placed #10 with $400,000 in 200 theaters. Every bit helps.


The Top 10

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 67; Est. budget: $250 million

$180,000,000 in 4,396 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $40,946; Cumulative: $180,000,000

2. Black Adam (WBD) Week 4; Last weekend #1

$8,600,000 (-53%) in 3,603  theaters (-382); PTA (per theater average): $2,387; Cumulative: $151,123,000

3. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #3; also on PVOD

$6,100,000 (-29%) in 3,633 (-433) theaters; PTA: $1,679; Cumulative: $56,512,000

4. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) Week 6; Last weekend #6

$3,200,000 (-5%) in 2,486 (-519) theaters; PTA: $1,287; Cumulative: $40,840,000

5. Smile (Paramount) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$2,330,000 (-42%) in 2,271 (-775) theaters; PTA: $1,026; Cumulative: $102,777,000

6. Prey for the Devil (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$2,01,000 (-48%) in 2,164 (-816) theaters; PTA: $929; Cumulative: $16,961,000

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$1,700,000 in 960 (-17%) in 960 (+65) theaters; PTA: $1,771; Cumulative: $5,785,000

8. One Piece Film: Red (Crunchyroll) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$1,448,000 (-84%) in 2,161 theaters; PTA: $654; Cumulative: $12,738,000

9. Till (United Artists) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$618,254 (-%) in 1,358 (-778) theaters: PTA: $455; Cumulative: $8,038,000

10. Yashoda (CGX) NEW – Est. budget: $5 million

$(est.) 400,000 in 200 theaters; PTA: $2,000; PTA: $(est.) 400,000

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