For all of our complaining about the MCU – the sameness of the origin stories, the washed-out, color-corrected look, the lack of stakes – even the most jaded movie fan has to admit that Marvel knows what they are doing.

Sure, we love to take shots at them, but when it comes to crafting critically and commercially successful films, Feige ain’t fakin’. And he’s got 17 movies under his belt to prove it.

So in no way is it a surprise that their latest entry Black Panther is on track to deliver a massive $100M+ February opening. According to Variety :

The Marvel-Disney tentpole is heading for a North American opening in the $100 million to $120 million range for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, early tracking showed on Thursday.

Now I have no idea how they figure out this tracking stuff but usually these numbers prove to be very prescient.

The only recent movies that I can recall where the numbers were drastically off the projections are Justice League – which crashed into the mountain – and Wonder Woman, who’s tracking went from $65M to $90M over a three week period and then smashed through expectations by opening to $103M.

Additionally, there’s a couple of things playing in Black Panther’s favor when it opens on February 17th — advanced ticket sales and the wave of good will that Marvel is current riding, both with critics and at the box office.

According to Fandango, Black Panther set an MCU record for the number of pre-sales in 24 hours, beating out Captain America : Civil War. However I’m not sure if that record-setting pace has continued or tapered off.

Drop me a line in the comments if you have any intel on this.

Combine those advanced sales with how well Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 ($146M) , Spiderman : Homecoming ($117M) and Thor : Ragnorok ($123M) opened and I’m thinking that $120M is not the ceiling here.

Maybe not even close, because – check this out – two weeks ago Black Panther was tracking at $80M.

It is the exact same scenario that Wonder Woman followed as people became aware of “the first female superhero movie” and its number kept getting projected higher and higher and was still $10M low.

In another week, when word of “the first black superhero movie” hits the normie brain, Black Panther could be tracking at $140M. It could take down Deadpool ($132M) as the biggest February opening ever.

Of course, all this “first” stuff is just lazy corporate shilling for people with really short memories — Catwoman (2004) with Halle Berry was a superhero movie with both an African-American and a female lead.

What they really mean is that Wonder Woman and Black Panther were the “Firsts” after Nolan and the MCU made comic book movies into something not only legitimate but a genuine cultural phenomenon; one that has 40-year cat women buying Captain America Bobbleheads and effete places like NPR doing think-pieces.

When someone named Winona Dimedo-Ediger is doing a thousand words on The Black Panther May Have His Roots In A 15th Century African Kingdom, you know that not only have comic book movies arrived but they are dominating mind-share.

So it is a fair point to say it’s “the first superhero movie to star an African American in this current era of comic book movie popularity.” Even if that’s not how Black Panther is being positioned in the national zeitgeist.

Where do you think Black Panther is going to fall in the storied history of massive MCU box office openings? I say #6.

  1. Marvel’s The Avengers $207,438,708
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron $191,271,109
  3. Captain America: Civil War $179,139,142
  4. Iron Man 3 $174,144,585
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $146,510,104
  6. Iron Man 2 $128,122,480
  7. Thor: Ragnarok $122,744,989
  8. Spider-Man: Homecoming $117,027,503
  9. Iron Man $98,618,668
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier $95,023,721
Low Dog was a great Lakota Sioux war chief who once slew 13 soldiers in hand-to-hand combat in a single battle. In the tradition of the Apache helicopter and the Washington Redskins, his spirit has returned to terrify his enemies. May he be so fortunate to slay as many shills in this lifetime as he slew soldiers in that one afternoon.

106 COMMENTS

  1. I can see the box office taking a hit if the filmmakers or actors take the Ghostbusters 2016 route of declaring any and all criticism as racist. intolerant hate speech from man child fanboy basement dwellers. Even a turd like Ghostbusters would likely have done better at the box office if they had just kept their mouths shut. Also see, Detroit.

    • I’m betting this movie is a normie and inoffensive as Wonder Woman was.

      There might be some light racial banter based around “African” and not bleck, but it will not try to be some protest movie. That would be a disaster. As we saw with The Lost Jedi.

      • Focus will be on story, the fact he’s a super hero. The bad guy isn’t a white dude. I don’t the movie is intended to milk the SJW angle but some well-meaning defenders might. But this doesn’t have to worry about doing Ghost Busters 2016 style box office.

      • I just want to see Boseman’s Panther be cool and fuck some dudes up. I really hope that won’t come with a lecture on the side.

    • The critics (especially those who really dislike it) need to be smarter and not give the studio the blood in the water that that want – some asshole writes the N word on a on a BP poster somewhere and they have their scapegoat for any and all criticism from that point on. Free pass.

      • And given the number of false flag racial incidents we have seen in the last two years I would be surprised if that didn’t occur.

      • I’m sure it will occur, and it will be a hoax, but treated as real by the media and unlikely that the likelihood that it’s a hoax, given how many of these things turn out to be hoaxes, will never be brought up.

      • Now that you mention that, I completely expect to see that happening. But it will be a hoax/ploy by someone related to film rather than an actual act of racism.

    • “I can see the box office taking a hit if the filmmakers or actors take the Ghostbusters 2016 route of declaring any and all criticism as racist.”

      It’s bizarre that they can’t see how this isn’t a huge turnoff–from the movie–to so many people that repeat viewings by SJWs can’t make up for. It would be worse if there weren’t so many movie goers blissfully unaware of both the criticisms and the responses, but that number shrinks as they saturate social media with their “you didn’t go see Panther cuz you racist!” stuff.

      • You’d think that NO STUDIO would ever want to go down Ghostbusters (2016) road but…they’re that fucked up. It’s a badge of honor, maybe? The most expensive virtue signal of all time?

  2. It’s ultimately going to be exactly what Justice League and Wonder Woman taught us. Reviews matter now on opening weekend. If the early reviews suck, it’ll do -20%. If the reviews are great, it’ll do +20% If it’s “okay”, it’ll do the $100 million projection.

      • Honestly, I did until I saw Creed. Creed was so much better than I expected I started getting excited for this. Still a little nervous how no reviews have popped up yet. I thought Thor and Homecoming were already getting good word of mouth about this far out from release.

    • I think the rise of theaters with reserve seating are pushing this. If I want the nice reclining seats, I’ve got to pre-buy or wait a couple weeks to get a decent seat.

    • It set a “24 hour record”. That could all be corporate buys meant to drive the shilling.

      No idea what it’s advanced sales look like now.

    • Lots of people. When you go opening weekend, and you want to watch it during prime hours on Friday or Saturday, if you don’t pre-buy, then you don’t end up with seats together.

        • Well when you’re older with kids and have more obligations, you have to schedule time for movies. So you have the time plotted out anyway, why wouldn’t you want good seats and not have to sweat being sold out? Or waiting in lines?

          Young people who go to movies in groups likewise might do this.

          It’s just common sense.

          If your schedule is so wide open and spontaneous in nature that you don’t have to schedule to do things, then bless you, that must be very relaxing. Personally between Job and kids and wife and friends, I have to schedule a fair amount of my leisure time, though somewhat loosely.

          • Real subtle backhanded condescension. Maybe when I grow up enough to have responsibilities I will understand your strange ways.
            Or maybe if you are so busy don’t go opening weekend.
            But I am glad that you enjoy going to the movies with your kids.

          • If you felt that was backhanded condescension, I can’t help how you feel. It was not intended that way. There night have been a tiny note or incredulity at the idea of NOT needing to schedule time, but that is more a reflection of my own current life and how hard it is to recall the time when I had that kind of free time to just wander over to the theater at 6 or maybe 7 or maybe 8, whatever and wait in line for tickets… i can’t even relate anymore.

            I am an old man with kids and I don’t have time to kill.

            When I was a young single man, I had tons of “time to kill”.

            I don’t relate. Just as you do not.

            I pass no value judgement on it.

            There are plenty of times in a month where a small part of me wishes I was young and lightly scheduled.

            Sorry you took it that way.

          • Point understood. I just don’t relate to being hyped by anything. Never understood parades either.
            I don’t miss being young myself, but I do miss the free time to let my mind wander to careless things .

          • If you’re old, then you should probably be prebuying your tickets to most things on your phone. Actually if you’re young, too.

            I just made the assumption because I am old, and he seemed to find the concept of prebuying tickets to movies to be alien… which made me conclude he must be very very different from me. Because I can’t easily picture NOT buying tickets ahead of time. I prebuy for sports events, for shows, for the aquarium, for movies, etc.

          • People who want to see it opening night or weekend. Before it gets spoiled.
            People whose weekend calendars actually fill in a month in advance, which is a lot of people. Between friends, family, school events.

            And really the numbers support that people tend to want to go opening weekend. Most big movies get at least 30% of their tickets opening weekend (DCEU, almost 40%). You get to talk about it at the water cooler, or on the forums here. If you don’t see it opening weekend, then you’re a little out of the loop on disqus too, right? And risk getting spoiled here.

            Because the whole point of seeing a movie in a theater is to catch it with the group excitement and energy. Otherwise, why not just wait 6 months and pay 1/20 the price and see it on the 70” at home while drinking a beer and being able to pause it to pee?

            So if the plan is to see it opening weekend, and you know you will, it’s only common sense to buy the tickets shortly after they are available.

          • No, dood… I buy it the morning of the show. Just like Lost Jedi.

            You’re floundering! It’s embarrassing! Stop it!

          • So yeah? Getting back to the part about being “condescending”… Well I am retroactively condescending just to YOU.

            Most of the rest of us have schedules that include stuff that doesn’t include “try to wake up by noon”. What is Lost Jedi?

          • Motherfucker, I get more done before noon that you have in your entire life.

            And what the fuck does that have to do with when I buy my tickets.

            The point was : people aren’t buying tickets a month in advance. More like a day or two.

            I BUY THEM THE DAY OF THE SHOW. And get the best seat.

            Lost Jedi is the failure from Lucasfilm. Stay tuned for proof.

          • Maybe rhe experience is different in “flyover country”, but In the city, you have to buy tickets in advance and a high percentage of tickets are bought online.

            It’s neither Better nor worse. It’s good to come to an understanding that the experiences of people in different areas is different.

          • You really are a condensing prick, huh?

            This is the same everywhere all over. NYC. SF. Charlottesville. Opening weekend I can buy a ticket the same day and get my seat. I have only missed it once on an indie film because someone else wanted my seat.

            Now you have waste your time and mine with this nonsense!

          • And I’m sorry that’s the case, but maybe you can change that. I know people always say “be yourself” but in your case, maybe you could try to NOT be yourself?

            Whatever your first impulse is in any situation, do the opposite.

            You feel like buying tickets on the day of, but instead you could buy them a month early.

  3. I don’t know how tracking works either, but I think $100m is a good bet; that Marvel logo goes a long way.
    And then Infinity War comes along and smashes every record that’s left.

    • They sold the character completely to me in CIVIL WAR. That last move stopping the gun hammer was badass: “The living are not done with you yet.”

    • Wow.

      That would be very, very impressive…especially for February.

      I’ll cross my fingers.

      Black Panther is the first Marvel movie that I’ve really been looking forward to for a while. Everything I’ve seen from it looks really good, and Coogler is super talented.

  4. While, yes I do bag on Marvel movies, I also recognize that they are not made for me. They are primarily made for 8 – 30 year olds who love mindless cgi action (not that other age groups don’t enjoy them, this is just the target demographic) What bothers me is the paltry number of quality, ambitious dramas and even quality R rated action films.

  5. Upon revisiting, how fucking dull, generic and shite was Dr Strange?
    Awful jokes, awful villian, awful finale, awful pacing. It was the MCU on autopilot.

  6. This movie just looks so damned *alive* compared to most of the DC entries. When I was done watching JL, aside from Gordon and that one family they kept cutting back to, I couldn’t remember one non-cape. I hope they show some fun, super imaginative tech and didn’t blow it all in the trailers.

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