(WAFB) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a super-heroic $218 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at over 4,000 North American locations, estimates showed Sunday, Variety says.
The entertainment trade publication reports the film's estimated three-day gross of $192 million is the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time. Combined with an estimated international debut of $169 million from 69% of the international market, the estimated global debut stands at $361 million through Sunday.
That number means that "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has doubled its original tracking in less than a month.
Variety says the film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on Jan. 25.
Since then, "Black Panther" has become a must-see movie for many moviegoers, underlined when Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.
"Black Panther" has demolished the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, blowing past "Deadpool's" 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit $300 million — far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.
"This is proof that the big screen experience may arguably be the most powerful platform for change in our society," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with comScore. "The emotional, communal, immersive and bigger than life theatrical experience has an impact that virtually no other medium can match."
The AMC chain reported Sunday that 80 AMC locations, more than 10% of its U.S. circuit, have set an admissions-revenue record for a single title on the opening weekend. Imax locations took in $23 million for the fourth-highest total in the format of all time.
Boseman portrays King T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan's Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star.
The film garnered an "A+" CinemaScore from audiences and a near perfect 97% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it one of the best-reviewed superhero movies of all time.
Part of Black Panther's success can be attributed the growing number of schools, community organizations, and even celebrities buying out theaters across the country in order for young people to see the film. Many of these theater buyouts were paid for through fundraising efforts and the philanthropy of others.
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