In an unsurprising piece of news, Black Panther dominated the box office for a second weekend in a row, far outpacing the competition. What is surprising is just how dominant that second weekend was.
With an estimated $108 million per Box Office Mojo, Black Panther had the second-best sophomore weekend of all time, trailing only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149 million). Black Panther has already grossed over $700 million worldwide, and that’s before the film’s release in one of the world’s biggest markets, China, on March 9.
This is huge—even by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lofty standards. There was a time when Black Panther was projected to make around $125 million in its first weekend. That total ended up being over $200 million, accounting for the best February opening weekend of all time. Now, at $400 million, Black Panther is already the fifth-highest grossing MCU movie ever, and it’ll take only a few more days for the movie to surpass Captain America: Civil War ($408 million) and Iron Man 3 ($409 million) domestically.
Perhaps most impressive was Black Panther’s narrow decline at the box office. The movie dropped just 46.5 percent in its second weekend. To put that in perspective, The Last Jedi cratered a not-so-nice 69 percent in its second weekend. Considering just how big Black Panther’s debut weekend was (usually, the bigger the opening, the bigger the drop), the movie will have staying power for the foreseeable future. Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time will likely take over the box office when it debuts March 9, but Black Panther should still remain a fixture in March.
And for what it’s worth, Black Panther dominated a weekend that saw the debut of two critically acclaimed, but much smaller, movies. The R-rated comedy Game Night finished second with $16.6 million. The film, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple taking part in a crime-themed game night that inadvertently becomes embroiled in an actual kidnapping, has an 81 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Annihilation debuted in fourth place, with its $11 million opening trailing behind Sony’s Peter Rabbit ($12.5 million). Despite rapturous reviews from critics with an 86 percent “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes score, Annihilation had a muted audience response. In addition to the low numbers, the movie received a “C” rating on CinemaScore. But hey, there’s only one film in theaters where Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh venture into a kaleidoscopic murder zone, so miss seeing Annihilation at your own risk.
Anyway, assuming A Wrinkle in Time does take over the box office from Black Panther come March, a $200 million movie with a black director and a majority-black cast will be surpassed by a $103 million movie with a black director starring Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling. What’s this about minority-led projects not being financially viable?