Everyone's known for a while "Black Panther" would be a big hit. But the film's now exceeded even those lofty expectations.
Variety.com reported Sunday Black Panther is projected to earn $218 million over the four-day President's Day holiday weekend, based on studio estimates. For the three days (Friday-Sunday) it's expected to pocket $192 million.
The $192 million figure, if that number holds when final tallies are posted Monday, will make "Black Panther" the fifth-highest three-day opening weekend of all time, behind only "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015, last year's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," "Jurassic World" in 2016, and 2012's "The Avengers."
It's expected to edge out 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," which made $191 million when it debuted in 2015.
The four-day weekend obliterates the President's Day record set just last year by Fox's "Deadpool," which earned $152 million over four days.
For the superhero genre, "Black Panther" is the second-largest opening ever behind Marvel's "The Avengers," and the largest ever for a movie featuring a standalone character.
It's also the largest February opening ever, and the largest for a movie released before May.
Late last month, Disney/Marvel and other analysts were projecting a $100 to $120 million opening for "Black Panther." But as it got closer to its release date, those estimates surged to up to $150 million, and finally, to between $170 to $200 million. The film managed to top even those forecasts.
That's partly due to good word of mouth that made the movie a "must-see." The film currently has a 97 percent rating on critics review aggregator website RottenTomatoes.com, the highest ever for a superhero film. It's also received an "A+" CinemaScore rating from audiences who've seen it so far. "The Avengers" is the only other Marvel film to receive such a rating.
"Black Panther" stars South Carolina native Chadwick Boseman in the lead role as Black Panther/King T'Challa. It also features Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitita Wright, Sterling K. Brown, as well as Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.