Profit margins forever!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever surprised no one this weekend when it conquered the box office, bringing in a $180 million domestic tally, the biggest-ever opening for a November release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Including receipts from international markets, the grand total comes to a whopping $330 million.
These are, no doubt about it, strong numbers, but they suggest that the sequel will not have the monumental traction of the first Black Panther picture released in 2018. That opened at $202 million domestically, ultimately reaching $700 million, ranking it at number six for an all-time record. Worldwide, the Marvel release is at number 14 with $1.34 billion. The Ryan Coogler film was also the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture Academy Award. (Joker followed suit the following year, and Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor prize.)
The reviews for Wakanda Forever were also a little cooler, with an 84 percent at Rotten Tomatoes versus a 96 for the first film, and a 67 at Metacritic versus an 88. However, Cinemascore, which polls outgoing ticket buyers, awarded the movie an A. (The original, it should be noted, got the ever-rare A+.) V.F.‘s review praised the film, but also called it “scattered” and “a vast expansion with a hole at its center.”
That the movie exists at all is something of a minor miracle. It faced some incredible hurdles, not the least of which was a complete script overhaul after the surprise passing of then-43-year-old Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. The production also suffered a shutdown when its lead, Letitia Wright, suffered an injury on set. Coogler and company shot around her as much as possible while she recovered, but eventually had to hit pause, ultimately delaying the release date by five months.
In addition to Wright, the sequel brings back Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Isaach de Bankolé, and Florence Kusamba. (And maybe someone else, but we’re not spoiling that.) New to the cast are Michaela Coel, Dominique Thorne, Lake Bell, and Tenoch Huerta as Namor, the principal villain (though, like the first picture’s Killmonger, he kinda has a point.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has drifted in and out of Marvel properties before, also pops up.