Another Marvel movie is a huge hit at the box office. But this one is a bigger deal than usual. Black Panther opened over the President's Day weekend to the tune of $235 million. That's not an unprecedented figure, but the four-day take amounts to a whole lot of records broken, milestones reached and other feats accomplished for the superhero release. Below we detail every one of its achievements, including a couple that aren't financial in nature.
Black Panther is...
The highest-grossing solo superhero movie
Without adjusting for inflation, Black Panther is the second highest-grossing superhero movie of all time, behind Marvel’s own The Avengers. Soon enough, it will take that throne away from the MCU team-up. For now, Black Panther does have the highest gross for a solo character entry in the genre, having defeated the previous champion, The Dark Knight, and for a superhero origin movie, bettering Spider-Man. With inflation considered, Black Panther remains behind both of those titles.
The best-reviewed comic book superhero movie of all time:
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Black Panther topped The Dark Knight and Iron Man with its positive review score of 97% but is tied for superhero movies overall with Pixar's The Incredibles. On Metacritic, Black Panther's 88 score is also the best for superhero comic book adaptations, though The Incredibles has a higher score (90) there.
The best-reviewed Ryan Coogler movie
Black Panther is only Ryan Coogler’s third feature as director, but the superhero movie surprised his fans by being his best yet. The filmmaker’s previous efforts, Fruitvale Station and the Rocky sequel Creed, already proved him a recognized talent with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 94% and 95%, respectively. Black Panther did even better with critics with its 97%, giving him a career average of 95.55%.
The best-reviewed movie for its lead actors
Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan aren’t just any kind of action movie stars; the young actors have done their share of prestigious dramatic pictures, the former in a number of biopics and the latter in Coogler’s other acclaimed efforts, yet Black Panther still managed to be their best-reviewed work. The same goes for much of the supporting cast, including Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for her role in the Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave (96%), and breakouts Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira.
Only the second superhero movie to earn a perfect CinemaScore grade:
Black Panther received an 'A+' grade via CinemaScore based on moviegoers polled on opening night. The only other superhero movie with so high a grade is The Avengers, which is also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther is also the second movie starring Chadwick Boseman, following 42, to receive the perfect grade.
The highest-grossing release of 2018:
In its first weekend, Black Panther had already made more money in North America than any other movie by a black director ever. With inflation taken into account, however, the movie came in third place. Five weeks in, with $607 million and counting, Black Panther has truly taken the crown after passing 2000’s Scary Movie ($267 million), directed by Keenan Ivory Wayan, and 1980’s Stir Crazy ($346 million), directed by Sidney Poitier.
The highest-grossing movie by a black director:
Black Panther has already made more money in North America than any other movie by a black director ever. With inflation taken into account, however, the movie comes in third place, behind 2000's Scary Movie ($267 million) and 1980's Stir Crazy ($346 million). Of course, Black Panther is on track to eventually take first place from those movies, even with the adjustment for inflation.
Black Panther had...
The fifth best opening of all time:
Black Panther is only one of five movies with an opening gross above $200 million. Its three-day total of $201.8 million is behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million), Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million), Jurassic World ($208.8 million) and The Avengers ($207.4 million). However, with adjustments made for inflation, Black Panther falls a bit further to seventh place, with Avengers: Age of Ultron ($203.9 million) and The Dark Knight ($202.5 million) ahead.
The best pre-summer opening of all time:
Summer in movie terms begins on May 1, and most movies open big in that season or in the fall. Still, some pre-summer releases do very well, such as previous record holder Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million), which was defeated by Black Panther. That, of course, means it also now has the record for best winter release.
The best February opening of all time:
February specifically hasn't historically been a big time for blockbusters, though Deadpool recently became a surprise hit in the second month of the year in 2016. Black Panther just blew that movie's record opening of $132.4 million out of the water.
The best President's Day weekend opening of all time:
Deadpool also had managed the President's Day weekend record two years ago with $152.2 million, but now Black Panther has topped that, as well, with its four-day gross of $235 million.
The best holiday weekend opening of all time:
Never mind President's Day, and forget the fact that Memorial Day and other long weekends are supposed to be big for blockbuster box office, because with $235 million, Black Panther had the best four-day opening from any holiday weekend ever. It also just plain had the 3rd best gross of four days, behind The Force Awakens ($288.1 million) and The Last Jedi ($241.6 million). With inflation considered, Black Panther is still in fifth place, also behind The Avengers ($255.9 million) and Jurassic World ($260.5 million).
The second best Sunday, and the best Monday grosses of all time:
After posting the eighth best opening day domestic gross ever with last Friday's $75.8 million (including its record-breaking Thursday previews), Black Panther had the fourth best Saturday gross ever (not adjusted for inflation) with $66 million, then the second best Sunday with $60.1 million and the very best Monday with $40.2 million, the latter knocking Star Wars: The Force Awakens from that pedestal.
The best opening for a non-sequel:
This one is up for debate, since Black Panther having the best opening ever for a non-sequel means we're not considering it a follow-up to Captain America: Civil War and other Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, but we are considering the first The Avengers as a sequel. If accepted, its debut passes over even The Hunger Games' adjusted opening of $176.8 million from 2012.
The second best opening for a Marvel Studios movie:
Comparing three-day openings, Black Panther's $201 million debut was second only to The Avengers within their franchise. However, with adjustments made for inflation, Black Panther also falls below Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The best first week for a Marvel movie
Black Panther may have opened below The Avengers, but early on it proved to be a major challenger for Marvel’s team-up movie. In its first seven days, Black Panther had outpaced The Avengers to have the MCU’s highest first-week gross, unadjusted for inflation. And overall, without considering inflation, Black Panther had the fourth-best first-week. With inflation, it was still in sixth place.
The second-best second weekend gross
After all its amazing success in the first week of release, Black Panther continued to astound in its second. Very few movies gross more than $100 million in their second weekend, but this movie became the fourth to do so and actually outperformed two of those others. With $112 million, Black Panther had the second-best second weekend ever, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This was achieved by the movie having the smallest drop for a Marvel movie in its second weekend with just 46% box office decline from first to second weekend.
The best opening for a solo superhero movie:
As you may have noticed, the only two Marvel movies to open bigger were the ensemble-based Avengers movies, meaning Black Panther had the best debut for an MCU installment focused on a solo superhero. Not only that, it opened better than any other franchise's solo superhero efforts. With inflation adjustment, it's even just slightly above Spider-Man 3. But then it's actually slightly below DC's best, The Dark Knight. Even with inflation, Black Panther had the best opening for any superhero's first solo outing.
The fifth best overseas opening for a Marvel movie:
While its opening was second best for the MCU in North America, overseas Black Panther had the fifth best debut with $169 million, falling behind The Avengers ($185.1 million), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($201.2 million), Iron Man 3 ($198.4 million) and Captain America: Civil War ($200.4 million).
The best wide-release opening per-screen average for a superhero movie:
Divided over its 4,020 screens, the average take per location for Black Panther was $50,298, which is the third best of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($59,982) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($51,987). Even with inflation adjustment, its average is seventh best, and only behind The Avengers ($53,925) for the superhero genre.
The best opening of all time at 80 different AMC theaters:
Speaking of breakdowns by location, the AMC chain of cinemas reported (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Black Panther performed better than any other movie ever at 80 of its locations.
The best domestic opening for a non-white director:
Ryan Coogler is the first black director to open a movie higher than $100 million, not to mention $200 million. The previous record holder for a black director was F. Gary Gray, whose The Fate of the Furious debuted to $98.8 million last year. Coogler also simply had the best opening for any non-white director, besting James Wan's Furious 7, which opened to $147.2 million in 2015.
The best domestic opening for a black star and cast:
In addition to Coogler's achievement as a black filmmaker, his movie had the best debut for a movie with a black actor in the lead and also the best debut for a movie with a predominantly black cast.
The first movie to spend five weeks at #1 this decade
Despite temporarily falling to second place on the respective opening days for A Wrinkle in Time and Tomb Raider, Black Panther has managed to top the box office for five weekends straight. That’s a big deal these days of Hollywood aiming for front-loaded success and hasn’t actually been achieved since Avatar in 2009-2010. And in the last 20 years, only The Sixth Sense and Titanic have also managed to be quintuple threats.
The first superhero movie to spend five weeks at #1 in 40 years.
Prior to The Sixth Sense, plenty of movies in the era of fewer screens and longer releases went five or more weeks at #1. But that was before so many blockbusters were of the superhero variety, meaning the last and only other entry in the genre to do was the first Superman. That classic DC Comics movie went eight weeks at #1 in 1978-1979.