The Black Panther sequel marks the second-biggest debut of 2022

Tthe box office came back to life with the highly anticipated release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Marvel sequel earned $180 million in ticket sales from more than 4,396 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates by The Walt Disney Co. on Sunday, making it the second biggest opener of the year behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. .” Overseas, it brought in an additional $150 million from 50 territories, bringing its worldwide total to $330 million.

“Wakanda Forever” has been eagerly awaited by audiences and exhibitors alike, having endured a slow spell at the box office after the summer movie season ended and there were fewer bigger budget blockbusters in the pipeline. The film got off to a great start, slightly stronger than even the first film with $84 million in its opening day, including $28 million from Thursday previews.

The first film grossed $202 million in February 2018 and has grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time and a cultural phenomenon. A sequel was inevitable and development began soon after, but everything changed after The Unexpected Death of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. Instead, Wakanda Forever chronicles the death of Boseman’s King T’Challa/Black Panther and the grieving kingdom he left behind. Returning actors include Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke and Danai Gurira, who face a new foe in Tenoch Huerta’s Namor. The film would also face more complications, including an injury to Wright and some setbacks related to COVID-19. All told, it cost $250 million, not including marketing and promotion.

AP Writer Jake Coyle writes in his review that “‘Wakanda Forever’ is overlong, a bit clunky, and somewhat cryptically leads to its climax on a barge in the middle of the Atlantic.” But Coogler’s fluid command of mixing intimacy with spectacle remains fascinating.”

It currently holds an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and, as is often the case with comic book movies, the audience scores are even higher.

Superhero movies have performed well during the pandemic, but none have yet reached the heights of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Other big launches include “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($187.4 million in May), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July) and “Batman” ($134 million in March).

The rest of the top five is made up of leftovers, as no film dared to go national against a Marvel monster. Second place went to DC superhero “Black Adam” with $8.6 million, bringing its total to $151.1 million. “Ticket to Heaven” placed third in its fourth weekend with $6.1 million. Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s romantic comedy grossed nearly $150 million worldwide.

The weekend wasn’t completely without other high-profile releases. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama ” The Fabelman family ” opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles with $160,000. Universal and Amblin will release the film in more theaters in the coming weeks to build excitement around the likely Oscar contender. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the parents of Spielberg’s stand-in Sammy Fabelman, who falls in love with movies and filmmaking as his parents’ marriage falls apart.

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