‘Black Panther’ sequel scores 2nd biggest debut of 2022 | Entertainment

The box office came back to life with the long-awaited release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”.

The Marvel sequel earned $180 million in ticket sales from more than 4,396 theaters in the United States and Canada, according to The Walt Disney Co. estimates. on Sunday, making it the second biggest opening of the year behind ” Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness .” Overseas, it brought in an additional $150 million from 50 territories, bringing its worldwide total to $330 million.

“Wakanda Forever” had been eagerly anticipated by audiences and exhibitors, which has endured a sluggish period at the box office since the summer movie season ended and less big cash was in the pipeline. The film got off to a slightly stronger start than even the first film with an $84 million opening day, including $28 million from Thursday’s prelims.

“Some might have hoped for $200 million as the first film, but this is solid,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “This is the kind of film theaters really need to drive audiences.”

The film first opened to $202 million in February 2018 and went on to gross over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time and a cultural phenomenon. A sequel was inevitable, and development began soon after with director Ryan Coogler returning, but everything changed after the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. “Wakanda Forever”, instead, became about the death of King Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther, and the grieving kingdom he left behind. Returning actors include Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke and Danai Gurira, who faces a new enemy in Tenoch Huerta’s Namor. The film would face more complications as well, including Wright getting injured and some COVID-19-related setbacks. All told, it had cost $250 million to make, not counting marketing and promotion.

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AP Film Writer Jake Coyle wrote in his review that, “Wakanda Forever’ is too long, a little unwieldy and a little mysterious steering toward a climax on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic. But Coogler’s fluid mastery of mixing intimacy with spectacle is still gripping.”

It currently holds an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and, as is often the case with comic book movies, the audience scores are even higher.

Superhero movies have done well during the pandemic, but none have yet reached the heights of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Other big launches include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($187.4 million in May), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July) and “The Batman” ($134 million in March).

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“Wakanda Forever” is the first film to open over $100 million since “Thor” in July, which has been difficult for exhibitors already dealing with a calendar that has about 30% fewer wide releases than in a typical year.

Holdovers populated the rest of the top five, as no film dared to launch nationwide against the Marvel riot. Second place went to DC superhero “Black Adam,” with $8.6 million, bringing its domestic total to $151.1 million. “Ticket to Paradise” came in third, in weekend four, with $6.1 million. Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s romantic comedy has made nearly $150 million worldwide. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” and “Smile” rounded out the top five with $3.2 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

Some award winners have struggled in their extensions recently, but Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin,” starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, looks like an exception. The Martin McDonagh film expanded to 960 theaters in its fourth weekend and took seventh place on the charts with $1.7 million, bringing its total to $5.8 million.

“It’s been a very interesting post-summer period for movie theaters, with some games out there doing well like ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and ‘Smile,'” said Dergarabedian. “But movie theaters cannot survive on uninhibited style films. The industry needs more of these.”

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After “Black Panther,” the next blockbuster on the schedule is “Avatar: The Way of Water,” arriving December 16.

The weekend wasn’t complete without some other high-profile releases. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans” opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles with $160,000. Universal and Amblin will introduce the film to more theaters in the coming weeks to build excitement around the likely Oscar contender. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the parents of Spielberg standout Sammy Fabelman, who falls in love with movies and filmmaking as his parents’ marriage crumbles.

“This will be an interesting holiday season,” Dergarabedian said. “I think a lot of independent dramas and films will have their time to shine over the next few months.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $180 million.

2. “Black Adam,” $8.6 million.

3. “Ticket to Paradise,” $6.1 million.

4. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” $3.2 million.

5. “Smile,” $2.3 million.

6. “Prey to the Devil,” $2 million.

7. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” $1.7 million.

8. “One Red Piece Movie,” $1.4 million.

9. “Hyd,” $618,000.

10. “Yashoda,” $380,000.

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.



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