And we’ve got another arbitrary milestone for Walt Disney’s Black Panther, as the MCU superhero movie has topped $1.1 billion in global receipts (including around $570 million domestic and $81m in China counting its $4m Wednesday gross). The film has passed the global totals of Transformers: Age of Extinction ($1.104b in 2014) and Skyfall ($1.108b in 2012, sans 3D). That makes it the 18th-biggest global grosser of all time and has now earned approximately $1.11b worldwide. It should be over Captain America: Civil War ($1.153b in 2016) relatively soon. And if it holds well enough (or MGM and Warner Bros.’ Tomb Raider opens low enough), then it’ll be the first flick since Avatar to top the weekend box office for five straight weekends.
And yes, if that happens, you’re going to see a lot of headlines to the effect of “Tomb Raider fails to top Black Panther.” There was some online chatter from folks who were upset about how the somewhat standard horse race-style box office coverage technically put Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time in competition with each other, but that’s standard reporting. I’m not a fan of the obsession with rank, and one of the reasons I split up my weekend reports is so I can discuss (and headline) the new movies without concerning myself with rank. But it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Wrinkle in Time “failing to top” Black Panther’s fourth weekend was no different than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor “failing to top” The Dark Knight’s fourth weekend back in August of 2008. And for that matter, if Tomb Raider does take the top spot, you’ll see a bunch of headlines declaring as much without noting (in the headline) that it was Tomb Raider’s opening weekend while it was Black Panther’s fifth weekend. Yes, the context will hopefully be in the article, and at some point, we have to trust our readers to not just read the headline.
If Black Panther does manage to hold on to the weekend crown, then Pacific Rim: Uprising will likely do the job. Legendary and Universal/Comcast Corp.’s questionable sequel, to a film that barely topped $400 million worldwide on a $190m budget five years ago, is noteworthy in that it features John Boyega in the lead role. Even if Tomb Raider wins the frame, it’ll continue a most interesting streak. With the exception of one weekend where Maze Runner: The Death Cure topped its debut frame, every weekend in 2018 (Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s Jumanji x4, Dakota Johnson’s Fifty Shades Freed, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther x4) has been topped by a movie headlined by someone not white and male.
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