A $426.6 Million Opening Makes 'Black Panther' The Top-Grossing Film With A Black Cast
Marvel Studios' Black Panther bounded to success at the President's Day box office, notching $242 million domestically over the four-day weekend--the second-highest such opening behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the biggest ever debut for a black director. In a triumph that could impact onscreen representation, its $184.6 million overseas total disproves a long-held industry myth that films with black casts underperform overseas.
The Ryan Coogler-directed action flick beat expectations to score the fifth biggest North American debut of all time. Even with an eye watering $200 million production budget and an estimated $150 million more spent on publicity, the tentpole it set to recoup its costs.
Black Panther follows T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) as he is crowned king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced nation in Africa rich in the valuable metal vibranium. Alongside a cast including Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker, he must protect the throne from an outside challenger: the Oakland, California-raised Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
The comic book adaptation has already become the top-grossing film with a predominantly black cast. It outperformed hits from yesteryear such as Martin Lawrence and Will Smith's Bad Boys series and Eddie Murphy's Coming to America, the latter of which grossed $288.8 million in 1988.