Wakanda Forever drew millions to the theaters this weekend, filling seats with fans eager to see the next chapter of the Black Panther lore. Unsurprisingly, the Marvel sequel raked in a record-breaking amount, opening at #1 at the box office, shattering Fall film premiere records, and pulling domestic ticket sales out of a record slump.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film opened to $180 million at the domestic box office, and an additional $150 million outside the U.S., making for a total $330 Million opening weekend. It’s also the second biggest film opening of 2022, only trailing behind its fellow Marvel hero tentpole, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The movie is ranked number 13 of all time on the list of highest-grossing domestic launches.
In addition to breaking records in the U.S., the film also had the highest-grossing opening ever in Nigeria, where Disney held its Africa premiere.
Wakanda Forever did not quite manage to match its predecessor, 2018’s Black Panther, which opened to $202 Million domestically. However, its opening numbers blew past projections, giving a much-needed boost to low ticket sales trends plaguing theaters since the early days of the pandemic.
According to Cinemascore, Black moviegoers led the charge, making up for 34% of film attendance during opening weekend.
The success of the film means even more when placed into the context of the franchise losing its star, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman’s untimely passing after a private battle with colon cancer came suddenly, just as the film’s sequel was about to go into production, tossing writer/director Ryan Coogler into the unique position of not only pressing on with the project through his own personal grief but of restructuring the film’s plotline in the absence of its central character.
“It was different. It had similar themes, but it was very much rooted in [T’Challa’s] perspective,” Coogler revealed to Yahoo! Entertainment ahead of the film’s premiere. “I wrote some killer lines for [Boseman]. It’s a strange thing to think about.”
Despite re-writes and a tumultuous shooting schedule, the film was ultimately only delayed by about 6 months of its originally announced release date.