“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is on pace to land one of the year’s biggest opening weekends.
Early tracking, released by NRG, has the superhero sequel debuting to $175 million, but many rival studio executives believe that figure could grow after reviews hit and word-of-mouth builds. Disney and Marvel still haven’t released the bulk of their marketing materials, which could also goose ticket sales.
If that figure is accurate, it will be the second biggest debut of 2022, just below the $187.4 million logged by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The original “Black Panther” opened to $202 million in 2018, ultimately grossing $700.4 million domestically and $1.3 billion globally.
Advance ticket sales are already strong, and the initial word among the select few who have seen rough cuts of the movie is that the sequel delivers the goods.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens on Nov. 11. Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original “Black Panther,” died of colon cancer in 2020 at the age of 43. The film will follow the leaders of Wakanda as they grapple with the aftermath of the death of their ruler and a new threat from an ancient civilization of underwater-dwelling people.
Ryan Coogler returns as director, leading a cast that includes Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Michaela Coel and Angela Bassett.
If “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a hit, that’s good news for theater owners. There have been a few modest successes this fall, such as “Halloween Ends” and “Smile,” but the theatrical business is in desperate need of a massive blockbuster as it struggles to rebound from COVID. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” are expected to turn things around and provide the exhibition business with the kind of commercial juggernauts it needs for holiday season.
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