Headlines Help Propel ‘Black Panther’ to Phenomenal Success

Black Panther is a Marvel movie. In this day and age, that is not a particularly rare thing. There have been 18 Marvel movies released in the decade since Iron Man launched the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” in May 2008. Three of those movies have come out in the past year alone (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok). So we’re averaging about two Marvel movies a year.

The reason for that volume is simple: Marvel movies make money. Every film from the Marvel brand has made over $100 million at the U.S. box office. Fourteen of them have made over $200 million. Four of them have made over $400 million (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, Captain America: Civil War). That’s a lot of scratch.

Despite Marvel basically owning the last decade at the U.S. box office… Black Panther is a rare thing.

Of all the 18 Marvel movies, Black Panther is the only one with a black person in the title role. That is significant. What’s more significant is that nearly every major role in Black Panther is played by a black actor—something not only rare for a superhero movie, but rare for any big-studio release.

That’s why the narrative surrounding Black Panther is different. Culturally, this is a movie being viewed and talked about through a different prism and on a different level than most comic book movies. Yes, Black Panther is a Marvel movie. But it’s also a movie of its moment; and that has grabbed the attention of the media and given it a prominent place in the conversation.

A ton is being written about both Black Panther in terms of what’s happening on-screen and the meaning of that for our world off-screen. The marketing and the cultural conversation in many cases have become one. What’s compelling people to see this movie—undoubtedly more than other Marvel movies—is the meaning behind it.

These headlines provide a great example of how people are experiencing Black Panther outside the movie theater:

Those are just headlines that appeared with reviews of the movie prior to its debut. So that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But what all those headlines do is promise the viewer something more, something unique, and something they don’t want to miss. The result? Black Panther raced out to an amazing start at the box office in its opening weekend.

Check out these stats:

  • Black Panther made over $200 million at the U.S. box office over the three-day weekend
  • That’s good for the fifth-largest domestic opening weekend of all time
  • The film made more than $235 million over the long President’s Day four-day weekend
  • That’s the third-highest four-day opening of all time
  • Black Panther already ranks number 12 on the list of highest grossing Marvel movies, and will likely be in the middle of top 10 by the end of the week

Fueled by positive reviews, strong interest and cultural significance, there’s no telling what kind of legs Black Panther can have at the box office. At this point, a spot in the Marvel top three domestic earners seems inevitable. If it sees enough repeat business, don’t be surprised if Black Panther even challenges The Avengers hefty $623 million to take the Marvel throne.

AUTHOR: Shad Connelly
ORIGIN: Communications Director @ MONSTERS Unlimited

If you'd like to follow Shad on Twitter  /  @shadconnelly