Although it’s still too early, there is a chance that the sequel written and directed by Ryan Coogler can surpass Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ $187.4M opening weekend. Wakanda Forever is currently surpassing Doctor Strange 2 and Thor: Love & Thunder in hourlies. There doesn’t seem to be a front-loaded sequel. Its 3-day runtime will be shorter than Doctor Strange 2 if it closely resembles that film. Saturday and Sunday saw a 36% and 32% decline in sales for Doctor Strange 2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is reportedly on track for a $80 million or more Friday and a $170 million to $180 million opening weekend at 4,396 screens. Wakanda Forever’s $8M preview deficit to Doctor Strange 2 is attributed, according to sources, to the season and running times. Early May had more people available than it does now on a Thursday night, and Doctor Strange 2 ran faster than Wakanda Forever, clocking in at 2 hours and 6 minutes.
Wakanda Forever’s $80 million opening day, which includes last night’s $28 million, places it at number thirteen among all opening days, just behind The Avengers’ $80.8 million (May 4, 2012). Wakanda Forever will enter the top 17 best U.S. openings at the box office with a $170 million to $180 million opening; this range includes MCU films like Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million, No. 13) and Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million, No. 16). In second place, Black Adam, a New Line/DC film, earned between $7M and $11M in its fourth weekend at 3,603 theaters, a decrease of 38% to 61%, for a running total by Sunday of between $150M and $154M.
Third place goes to Universal’s fourth weekend of Ticket to Paradise, which had 3,633 visitors and is targeting a fourth Friday of $2.4M, -9%, and a three-day total of $6.9M, -19%. With 2,486 copies sold, Sony’s Lyle, Lyle Crocodile has a sixth Friday gross of $1.1 million, a projected sixth weekend gross of $3.3 million (which is even with previous weekend), and a running cume by Sunday of $40.9 million. The seventh weekend of Smile from Paramount, with a Friday take of $675K, a three-day take of $1.9M, -52%, and a running total by Sunday of $102.3M, comes in fifth.
Wakanda Forever, which began previews , currently has a 94% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 79% for the first Black Panther. For general audiences, parents, and children under 12, Screen Engine/Comscore audience exits are even better at five stars. Total audience recommendations are at a high 83%. 42% of the audience on Thursday night was Black, 22% was Hispanic or Latino, 20% was Caucasian, and 10% was Asian. Males over 25 made up 34% of the population (90% grade), women over 25 made up 26% (95% grade), men under 25 made up 25% (87% grade), and women under 25 made up 15% (98% grade). 39% of females and 61% of boys aged under 12 were present. Black Panther 2’s critical rating has been certified at 85%, which is lower than the 96% of the first movie. However, Wakanda Forever’s momentum this weekend won’t be harmed by that. Everyone will benefit from it, from Imax to theatre circuits.