‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Racing To $170M-$180M Opening Weekend – Friday Box Office

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FRIDAY MIDDAY: Right now we hear that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is heading for an $80M+ Friday, for what will be a $170M-$180M opening weekend at 4,396 theaters.

There is hope that the Ryan Coogler directed and written sequel could overtake Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ $187.4M opening, however, it’s still too early. Currently in hourlies, Wakanda Forever is overtaking Doctor Strange 2 and Thor: Love & Thunder. The sequel doesn’t appear to be front-loaded. If it emulates exactly Doctor Strange 2, its 3-day will come in less than that movie. Doctor Strange 2 fell 36% on Saturday, and 32% on Sunday. In terms of Wakanda Forever coming up short of Doctor Strange 2 in previews by $8M, sources attribute that to the time of year and running times. More people were available back in early May than now on a Thursday night, plus Doctor Strange 2 ran at 2 hours and 6 minutes while Wakanda Forever is 2 hours and 41 minutes.

With an $80M opening day that includes last night’s $28M, Wakanda Forever is the 13th highest opening day of all-time, just under The Avengers’ $80.8M (May 4, 2012). A $170M-$180M opening gets Wakanda Forever into the top 17 best U.S. openings at the B.O., a range that includes such MCU titles as Captain America: Civil War ($179.1M, No. 13) and Iron Man 3 ($174.1M, No. 16).

In 2nd, the fourth weekend of New Line/DC’s Black Adam is between $7M-$11M at 3,603 theaters, down between 38% to 61% for a running total by Sunday between $150M-$154M.

Third belongs to Universal’s fourth weekend of Ticket to Paradise at 3,633 which is eyeing a fourth Friday of $2.4M, -9%, and a 3-day of $6.9M, -19%, and total of $57.3M.

Sony’s Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at 2,486 has a sixth Friday of $1.1M, and an estimated sixth weekend of $3.3M, even with last weekend and a running cume by Sunday of $40.9M.

Fifth goes to Paramount’s seventh weekend of Smile at 2,271 theaters with a Friday of $675K, 3-day of $1.9M, -52% and running total by Sunday of $102.3M.

FRIDAY AM: As expected, Disney and Marvel Studios Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is on fire with a $28M Thursday which easily beats the preview night of the first Black Panther in 2018 which did $25.2M. Wakanda Forever ranks as the third best Thursday preview of the year behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($36M) and Thor: Love and Thunder‘s ($29M). Overall, Black Panther 2‘s previews rank as the 15th top preview performance in industry history and gives the Marvel Cinematic Universe six of the top 15 starts ever. The 3-day projection for Wakanda Forever is between $175M-$200M at 4,936 theaters.

Nothing to wince about here with previews for Wakanda Forever being lower than Thor: Love & Thunder which, though panned by critics and earning a B+ CinemaScore, turned in a $144M opening. Previews’ share of MCU opening weekends have varied. Thor: Love & Thunder‘s repped 19% of its 3-day while Doctor Strange 2’s repped 19% of its $187M opening, Black Panther‘s Thursday was 12% of its $202M opening, and Captain Marvels $21M was 14% of its $153M 3-day.

Other great signs for the weekend: Wakanda Forever represents more than 80% of the online ticket retailer’s Veterans Day sales today. Comscore spots 52% K-12 schools off today and another 31% colleges. The Marvel Studios title has been their No. 1 daily ticket-seller for the last two weeks. 82% of fans on Fandango buying tickets to Wakanda say it’s their most anticipated film of this year. We hear that advance ticket sales for Wakanda Forever weren’t front-loaded, rather spread out evenly over the course of the weekend. Disney reports that as of yesterday, Wakanda Forever counted $66M in advance sales, which is behind Doctor Strange 2‘s $85M, but ahead of Thor: Love & Thunder‘s $48M.

Wakanda Forever, which kicked off previews at 3PM yesterday, currently counts a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 94% to the original Black Panther‘s 79%. Screen Engine/Comscore audience exits are even better at 5 stars for general audiences, parents and kids under 12. Total recommend among general audience is at a high 83%. Thursday night’s audience pulled in 42% Black, 22% Hispanic and Latino, 20% Caucasian and 10% Asian. Thirty-four percent were men over 25 (90% grade), 26% were women over 25 (95% grade), 25% were men under 25 (87%), and 15% women under 25 (98% grade). Among kids under 12, 61% were boys, 39% were girls.

The critical score for Black Panther 2 has settled at 85% certified fresh, which is under the 96% of the first film. Still that won’t hurt Wakanda Forever‘s momentum this weekend. It’s going to be rich one for everyone from theater circuits to Imax.

Among the regular films in release, New Line/DC’s Black Adam ends its third week with $23.7M and a running total of $142.5M. Thursday at $950K, was -11% from Wednesday at 3,985 theaters. Universal’s Ticket to Paradise ends its third weekend with $12.1M, a running total of $50.4M at 4,066 theaters and a Thursday at $840K that was 7% off yesterday. Crunchyroll’s One Piece Film Red at 2,367 theaters ends week one with $11.1M. Thursday was $320K, down 25%. Paramount’s Smile crossed $100M this week after a sixth week of $5.3M, and Thursday of $269K, -11% from Wednesday. Lionsgate’s Prey for the Devil at 2,960 theaters posted a second week of $5.1M, running total of $15M and a Thursday of $234K, -16% from Wednesday.

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