Box Office Wrap Up: Black Panther Rules Biggest February!
Marvel’s smash hit helped to usher in the biggest February box office in history, and eyes a big March as well.
All roads lead to Wakanda, or at least all ticket sales. Thanks to the big haul from Black Panther, 2018 is now the proud owner of the biggest February sales totals of all time. This becomes more meaningful when you recognize that the second month of the year has become the home to surprise hits in the last several years, namely Deadpool and Get Out, making it prime real estate for studios looking to situate their biggest movies. We’ve already seen the studios jockey for space in April and May, with Disney opting not to step on its own toes by moving Avengers 3 away from Han Solo. With February shedding its status as a “dump month” we can expect more big movies there in the future.
This Week in Box Office History.
Black Panther is making all kinds of noise on the records board. Besides the biggest opening for Winter and February, it is the highest grossing superhero origins movie and the third biggest superhero movie, period. Sitting at 500 million dollars (and reaching that total in the 3rd fastest time for a modern movie) it seems virtually assured of passing The Dark Knight (534 m) and has a real chance of overtaking The Avengers (623 m). Wouldn’t it be great if Black Panther puts the “minority superheroes don’t make money” line to bed by becoming the biggest superhero movie of all time?
The overall box office numbers were down 23% from last week and 20% from last year. The gradual decline of Black Panther and the relatively weak numbers put up by this week’s new films (Red Sparrow, Death Wish) account for the former, and the giant opening for Logan last year account for the latter. The numbers are still in the top 5 for earnings in this period when you look back at least a decade.
Top Three Films.
Black Panther took first place with 66 million dollars. This was down about 40% over last week, a sustainable decline when you consider how superhero movies tend to age. If it keeps up this level, it could easily bank another 100 million dollars before its next rivals, Pacific Rim Uprising and Deadpool 2, make it to theaters.
The second spot went to Red Sparrow, the espionage thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence. Reviews were mixed to positive, as were audience reactions (it earned a B on cinemascore’s metric.) It earned 16 million dollars against a 70 million dollar budget, which is on the low side of estimates for how it would perform. With other female led action thrillers around the corner (Tomb Raider and Unsane are out this month) Red Sparrow will have to count on foreign box office totals to succeed.
Third Place went to the other wide release premier, Death Wish, featuring John McClane Bruce Willis. This remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson flick did not delight critics, but did well with fans, garnering a B+ cinemascore. The 13 million dollar take was milder than hoped by studios, but against a 30 million dollar budget, it should make it out alive.
With the Oscars in the rear view, many of the nominated films have dropped off the top ten. In fact, the only nominated film – The Greatest Showman – remained, taking in another 2 million dollars. This brings its domestic totals to 164 million. Even The Last Jedi fell out of the top twenty (though the 620 million dollars in ticket sales probably isn’t worrying Disney all that much.)