Black Panther: Wakanda Forever isn’t a failure, but it won’t break $850 million before it goes to Disney+.
With the date for when it will move to Disney+ officially announced, it looks like the second Black Panther movie won’t even break the $850 million mark. While by no means a flop, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did not live up to initial projections. And even though it has surpassed Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will stand as the most successful Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of 2022.
But what does this mean about the final MCU Phase Four movie? And what does it signal for the future of the franchise? Will there be a third movie? Read on for the details below.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had the third biggest opening for Phase 4, behind Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
While none of the MCU films hit the billion dollar club in 2022, Disney and Marvel Studios had high forecasts for the sequel to the 2018 film. There were even predictions that it would surpass the first film’s box office and join the billion-dollar club, along with other 2022 winners such as Jurassic World: Dominion and Top Gun: Maverick.
However, it looks like the MCU’s latest Phase Four film won’t even come close to the box office success of its predecessor. The first film opened with $202 million domestically and grossed $1.38 billion worldwide at the box office.
Given the success of the first Black Panther, getting the sequel into the billion dollar club seemed like a guarantee. And after it earned $84,285,721 on its opening day on November 11, 2022, there was no reason to doubt that it would reach its goal. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever held steady in its third weekend, which took place during the holiday season.
But it fell over 60% domestically in its fourth weekend. It grossed just $17 million after the holiday season ended. Furthermore, the international market did not support the film as well as it should have, earning only $381,768,705, according to the latest figures. As of the latest box office figures from the weekend of January 6-8, 2023, Wakanda Forever earned just $3.4 million.
Estimated weekend #Ticketbox Top 8 for January 6 – January 8, 2023
1. #AvatarTheWayOfWater – $45.00 million
2. #M3GAN – 30.20 million dollars
3. #PussInBoots – 13.12 million dollars
4. #AManCalledOtto – $4.20 million
5. #WakandaForever – $3.40 million
6. #IWannaDanceMovie – 2.40 million dollars
7. #The whale – 1.54 million dollars
8. #BabylonMovie – 1.43 million dollars pic.twitter.com/EvXBD0jMUF
— BoxOfficeReport.com (@BORReport) 8 January 2023
There are several factors that blunted Wakanda Forever’s run to the billion mark. An important factor is streaming. Since movie theaters reopened after the COVID pandemic, people have gotten used to streaming content from home.
With all theatrical films also hitting theaters within a month or two, many are willing to wait and see their films at no extra cost. This has led to a significant change in market dynamics. An example of this is from DC’s own Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson. While the film’s theatrical run underperformed, it hit big when it arrived on HBO Max and became the #1 movie streamed by subscribers.
MCU films generally followed Disney+’s 45-day release deadline after they hit theaters. So many fans have been waiting for movies like Thor: Love and Thunder to be released on Disney+. On top of that, all streaming services offer a ton of solid content that anyone can watch at no extra cost. That said, Wakanda Forever breaks the mold by having an 82-day theatrical run before heading to the Disney Plus streaming service.
Wakanda Forever also didn’t live up to the first film being a cultural touchstone. Although the introduction of Aztec and Mayan elements (replacing the fictional Atlantis) in the form of Namor (played by Tenoch Huerta) and Talokan attempted to reach the Latino community, it does not seem to have had the same impact as 2018’s Black Panther did their African roots.
Another factor is the absence of lead star Chadwick Boseman. While the Wakanda Forever cast did their best, Boseman’s presence and charisma as T’Challa and Black Panther provided much of the original film’s gravitas. The sequel’s somber tone in acknowledging the loss of the actor only reinforced how important his role was.
It also didn’t help that Black Panther 2 wasn’t released in China. DC Studios’ Black Adam also failed to secure a release in the Chinese market, which could have made a big difference in the final box office with Dwayne Johnson’s popularity in that area. On that note, the first Black Panther attributes $105,062,459 of its international box office to its release in China.
The last major factor would be the timing. James Cameron’s juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water was due to be released just a month later. Interestingly, the sequel to the first Avatar from 2009 has sailed past Top Gun: Mavericks record, making it the most successful theatrical release of 2022.
Despite all this, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still profitable and achieved remarkable achievements. This includes reaching the highest domestic box office for a female-led film.
As of this writing, Box Office Mojo tracked Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s worldwide gross at $827,206,321. The film will arrive on Disney+ on February 1, 2023.