Early estimates are in for Black Panther, the Marvel Studios film from director Ryan Coogler starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular panther and an all-star cast including Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Forrest Whitaker, and more. And it looks like the movie is on track to be a massive blockbuster for Marvel. While estimated could change between now and the movie's February 16th release date, Box Office Pro currently forecasts the movie listed for a $90 million domestic opening. If true, that would make Black Panther the twelfth-highest opening Marvel Studios movie.
But in terms of solo character first movies, Black Panther would top The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Doctor Strange, with only Iron Man's $98 million opening beating it. If Black Panther's prospects increase over the next couple months, it could be in range of topping that, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy ($94 million) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million). Moreover, Black Panther could even top the dismal opening of Marvel's greatest competition's flagship franchise, Justice League, which opened to just $94 million in November.
Of course, a lot can change between now and Black Panther's release. If it weren't a four-day holiday weekend, we probably wouldn't even be talking about such early estimates. Still, of all the movies set for release in the next two months, Black Panther easily triples or quadruples their estimates, making it the likely first blockbuster of 2018 and ensuring Marvel starts the year off on the right track heading into the release of Avengers: Infinity War in May.
If only the company could figure out how to make people want its comics as much as they want to see its movies.