'Black Panther' Now Tracking for Massive $165M U.S. Debut

 hollywoodreporter.com  2/12/2018 8:23:15 PM 

11:29am PT by Pamela McClintock

The forecast keeps getting better and better for Disney and Marvel Studios' Black Panther, which opens in North America on Friday.

Hollywood's leading tracking service, NRG, on Monday revised its opening weekend estimate to $165 million or more for the four-day Presidents Day weekend — which if it holds would be the top February launch of all time — according to sources with access to tracking.

When Black Panther first came on tracking two weeks ago, NRG forecast a domestic opening of $125 million. By last week, that number had shot up to $150 million-plus.

If NRG is right, Black Panther could potentially land one of the top five or six openings ever for superhero film, not accounting for inflation. Of course, tracking often misses the mark. Either way, Black Panther, which also launches overseas, appears headed for greatness.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast. In the film, Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa/Black Panther alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis.

The critically acclaimed movie currently boasts a stellar 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the best of any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (that could change by opening day).

The roster of top superhero openings in North America is led off by The Avengers (2012) with $207.4 million, followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) with $191.3 million, Captain America: Civil War (2016) with $179.1 million, Iron Man 3 (2013) with $174.1 million — all from Marvel — and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) with $166 million and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) with $160.9 million, not accounting for inflation.

Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, which currently holds the record for top February opening, took in $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend last year.

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