Black Panther is on route to become the movie sensation of the year.
Actually, director Ryan Coogler’s film has already crossed the $1 billion US dollars mark at the box office according to website boxofficemojo.com. The film has also hit several box office records along the way, such as being the fourth in history to surpass $100 million in the second weekend of its theatrical run, no mean feat even for a movie set in the hugely popular Marvel cinematic universe.
So, it seems that audiences worldwide have enjoyed this superhero tale set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, and even the movie’s director Ryan Coogler was moved by the film’s success, writing in an open letter to fans that Black Panther’s success “moved me and my wife to tears”.
Of course, the movie’s box office run is far from over, and the question remains whether Black Panther has the potential to go the extra mile and become the most successful superhero film of all time.
Coogler’s film is not there yet, and the truth is that five other superhero movies are still ahead of it in the all-time box office ranking. The first is Christopher Nolan’s superb The Dark Knight Rises, the final movie of his wildly successful batman trilogy which grossed $1.084 billion at the box office worldwide.
But given that Black Panther’s worldwide gross now stands at $1.079 billion, it seems pretty feasible that Coogler’s film will end up making more money than the last Dark Knight film when all is said and done.
It will be slightly harder for Black Panther to surpass Captain America: Civil War though, as the Captain America-centric Marvel film was also a smash hit, grossing $1.15 billion worldwide back in 2016.
Iron Man 3 is also currently ahead of Black Panther in the all-time grossing superhero movie list having made a stunning $1.2 billion in 2013, but perhaps not for long if the Panther’s terrific box office performance continues in the next couple of weeks.
Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole recently caused a bit of controversy when he criticized Iron Man’s protagonist in the SXSW film festival, calling the character played by Robert Downey Jr. “douchey and disrespectful to women”, and suggesting such a superhero character wouldn’t succeed in today’s climate.
This makes it clear he likely believes T’Challa of Black Panther is a better character than Iron Man’s Tony Stark, and he might be vindicated in the end if Black Panther does end up grossing more at the box office in the end.
Clearly though, it will be hard for Black Panther to top the two more recent Avengers movies, 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially the former which is the top-grossing superhero film of all time, having made a whopping $1.5 billion in theatres in its release year.
Black Panther might have a hard time reaching this mark taking into account it has already been in theatres for four weeks. Ryan Coogler’s movie recently opened in China though (which is currently the world’s largest movie market), and high interest from Chinese audiences (perhaps unlikely, but still possible) could help Black Panther surpass The Avengers and claim the throne.
It remains to be seen, though, how things pan out in the end, but already it’s clear that Black Panther is a superhero movie that audiences won’t soon forget. Actually, Marvel has already greenlighted a sequel in light of this movie’s success, and here’s hoping this will live up to the original when it hits theatres sometime in the future.
Black Panther (Marvel Studios)