‘Black Panther’ heads toward $1 billion at global box office


“Black Panther” joined an exclusive group in Hollywood by becoming one of only four movies to earn $100 million or more in its second weekend in theaters. The film is poised to top $1 billion worldwide.

By Sunday, the movie had exceeded $400 million in the U.S. and Canada, getting there faster than any other Marvel title, parent Walt Disney Co. said in a statement. It has collected $704 million worldwide, with the second-biggest market, China, yet to open. Just four Marvel films have earned more than $1 billion globally.

The strong global reception is all the more notable because it’s Disney’s first superhero feature with a largely African-American cast and likely will put to rest notions that films with black casts don’t attract a broad audience. The reception in U.S. cities has been huge, with places like Memphis seeing theater attendance up more than 80 percent over average.

African-Americans have been drawn to the big screen debut of an African superhero and a storyline that tackles issues of race and colonization. While the movie is performing beyond expectations at home and overseas, in the case of “Black Panther,” 57 percent of ticket sales are domestic, higher than other superhero films, according to Box Office Mojo.

After setting weekday records for a Marvel title, “Black Panther” took in an estimated $111.7 million last weekend in North American theaters, ComScore Inc. said Monday in an email. The film beat Disney’s forecast of $83 million to $95 million, while analysts including Box Office Pro and Box Office Mojo were projecting $101 million to $120 million.

Warner Bros.’ comedy “Game Night” was the closest rival, landing in second place with $17 million, compared with Box Office Pro’s estimate of $16 million. The film from Time Warner Inc.’s movie division features Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple whose weekly murder-mystery party turns into a real case that they must solve. It scored 78 percent positive reviews from top critics, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com.

Adult audiences also had the choice of Paramount Pictures’ “Annihilation,” which landed in fourth place with sales of $11.1 million.

From director Alex Garland, who had a critical hit with “Ex Machina,” the film stars Natalie Portman as a biologist who takes on an expedition into an environmental disaster zone after her husband goes missing. Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-star in the picture from Viacom Inc.’s movie division. It scored 83 percent positive reviews with top critics.

Also opening last weekend was the MGM teen fantasy “Every Day,” which made its debut with sales of $3 million to match Box Office Pro’s prediction. It’s the first picture MGM has distributed in wide release in years, using its revived Orion brand for small budget features. The producer of the James Bond movies has been rebuilding its distribution capability since emerging from bankruptcy in 2010.

“Every Day” is based on a New York Times bestseller about a teen girl who falls in love with a person who inhabits a different body every day. The film cost $5 million to make, according to the studio.

The No. 3 movie at the box office was Sony Corp.’s “Peter Rabbit,” in its third week at cinemas, which had sales of $12.8 million.