Black Panther rocketing to top spot with record-breaking earnings

As the US kicked back for a long weekend, Disney’s Black Panther got off to a superhero start in the North American box office, rocketing to the top spot with record-breaking earnings of $ 242.2 million, industry data showed Monday. According to figures from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, the highly-anticipated 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned $ 202 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday – exceeding predictions of $ 170 million.

A new record Monday take of $ 40.2 million in the US pushed Black Panther’s staggering earnings even further beyond the previous record-holder Deadpool’s 2016 Presidents’ Day weekend mark of $ 152.1 million.

Its performance overseas brought the global total to $ 426.6 million, which is already more than Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and The Incredible Hulk (2008) made during their entire theatrical runs.

The film, from Disney-owned Marvel Studios, features a star-studded, almost entirely black cast led by Chadwick Boseman as the first non-white superhero to get his own standalone movie in the franchise.

Starring alongside Michael B Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, Boseman plays the titular superhero also known as T’Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda, an affluent, never-colonized utopia.

Its various achievements include the second-largest four-day domestic opening weekend of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($ 288.1 million) and just ahead of Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($ 241.6 million).

Its three-day opening breaks the record for February and is the best ever for an African-American director.

In at second was family-friendly Peter Rabbit, based on Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s book. Mixing live actors with computer-generated animation, it brought in $ 23.4 million over the holiday weekend for total earnings of $ 54.4 million.

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