Box Office Report: Straight Outta Wakanda

Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | February 18, 2018

Boy, now who didn’t see this coming?

To the shock of nobody with any common sense, Marvel’s latest epic, Black Panther brought in one of the largest opening weekends of all time, grossing $192m in that space of time! It’s currently on track to meet a $218m 4-day weekend. That the largest February opening ever, as well as the biggest President’s Day weekend opening, and that pushes Disney into new territory — 8 of the top 10 domestic openings in history are from their mammoth media monopoly. Only The Avengers had a bigger MCU opening weekend in America (Black Panther’s three-day weekend also places it fifth all time). So the next time you see some executive claim that a film like that can’t do well without swaths of white people, you know what to do.

It seems silly that any film would hope to compete with that film in its opening week, but alas, some were foolish enough. Lionsgate hoped that there would be enough space in the market for Early Man, the new Aardman animation. In fairness, their reasoning wasn’t bad — not every family has kids old enough for Black Panther and wholesome cartoons always play well. Sadly, the film only debuted at number 7 with a paltry $3.1m opening weekend. Aardman’s stop-motion claymation is pretty pricey to make, especially for films that will never crack the Disney or Dreamworks markets, so consider this one in the coming weeks. Yes, I’m encouraging you to see an Eddie Redmayne film. Don’t think I’ll ever do this again.

Pureflix, the compassionate souls behind the God’s Not Dead films, thought this would be a good open field for them to release Samson, but they barely cracked the top 10 with a $1.9m opening. This may be a slow burner, given the niche but mighty market, but I can’t say I’d be sad if it sank without a trace.

In last week’s releases, remember Fifty Shades Freed? We can’t say it’s been a flop sadly — that would have been too kind to us all — but in its second week of release, it sank to number 3, saw a 56 percent drop in gross, and got beaten by Peter Rabbit. Ah, the sweet smell of justice. Make it rain lettuce, Peter!

Monster Hunt 2, the Chinese fantasy adventure film, made around $335k in American theatres, but in its home nation, its reported gross has come close to $200m. Another Chinese film, Detective Chinatown 2, brought in a respectable $677k from only 115 theatres. Chinese cinema of the blockbuster age is a fascinating beast, and seeing it get some Western world attention is particularly intriguing. But we all know who the king of the box office was this week. All hail Wakanda.

This week sees the release of Paramount’s sci-fi drama Annihilation, Every Day, an adaptation of a David Levithan YA novel, and the comedy Game Night.

You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.

What films did you see this weekend? Is it futile of me to ask about anything other than Black Panther? Answers in the comments.

(Header photo of Chadwick stealing your heart/girl from Getty Images)


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