So...Black Panther is estimated to have taken in an astounding $235m over the course of the 4-day President's Day weekend NEVERMIND IT MADE $242m BECAUSE THIS MOVIE IS UNSTOPPABLE (and around $201m over the 3-day weekend, not including the holiday). That's A LOT - especially when you consider the initial projections for Black Panther's opening weekend were more in the range of...$90 million. Which is quiiiiiite a bit less than what actually happened - the hype and critical acclaim built to a fever pitch, delivering the single biggest opening weekend for a solo superhero ever.
But to really appreciate HOW BIG of a box office Black Panther delivered, let's check out some things that it has ALREADY made more money than:
Let's start with the most notable thing - Black Panther, formerly a B-list Marvel superhero barely known to the broader public, has grossed more in 4 days than DC's Justice League film in its entire 3 month run. You may have realized Justice League underwhelmed audiences, but this is pretty shocking. Imagine someone telling you a year ago Black Panther would demolish Justice League to this degree - you probably would have thought they were crazy (until you took a moment to realize it was Zack Snyder vs. Ryan Coogler, at least).
While Black Panther has already crushed Justice League domestically, it does still have a bit of a ways to go before it beats JL's worldwide gross. However, there is a superhero movie (also starring Michael B. Jordan) that Black Panther's domestic take has already beaten in its entirety - Fant4stic, Fox's poorly-planned reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. Granted, it was one of the worst modern superhero films ever, and involved the director being barred from reshoots, but still.
Let's compare Black Panther to a few of the other MCU solo characters - and appreciate that it outgrossed Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Doctor Strange, AND Ant-Man's debut solo efforts (domestically). Only Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man had TOTAL domestic runs higher than Black Panther's FIRST WEEKEND. And if Black Panther has good box office legs (which it should, given it has a rare A+ Cinemascore - a score the MCU has only previously achieved once, with 2012's The Avengers), it could go on to be THE highest grossing MCU solo film to date.
And, honestly, it could be even more impressive than that...
Pretty much NO ONE thought Black Panther would dethrone Age of Ultron's box office weekend of $192m (for the first three days). After all - it was a MASSIVE Avengers' sequel, and was the 5th biggest box office weekend of all-time. And what happened was....even bigger. Black Panther has already grossed more than Age of Ultron's first SIX DAYS. The combined efforts of all the Avengers (and the introduction of Ulysses Klaue) was nothing compared to Wakanda.
While the Avengers still tops Black Panther for the first three days, Black Panther's 4th day was enough to put it over the top of The Avengers - which went on to be the MCU's highest grossing film ever. Granted, Black Panther had a bit of an advantage in having its opening Monday be a national holiday, but still - it's ahead, and the idea of Black Panther coming close to the Avengers' total gross ISN'T IMPOSSIBLE. It was a laughable idea only a week ago - and now it seems kinda likely. After all, by now we should know better than to underestimate Black Panther.
Hey, you know Avatar, the highest-grossing film ever (not adjusted for inflation, at least)? Black Panther has made more than it did in a week and a half in only four days. Granted, Avatar was something of a box office miracle, making its money over the course of several months (instead of most blockbusters, which tend to be pretty frontloaded) - but let's not forget Black Panther has been doing incredible with audiences. An A+ Cinemascore typically leads to around a 4.8x multiplier of the film's opening weekend - meaning Black Panther's final domestic gross should be around $968m.
If it's able to get to THAT level, it will be the highest grossing film domestically ever - topping Star Wars: The Force Awakens' $936m (and WAY surpassing Avatar's $760m).
Did you see that story last week about how Sony turned down a suite of film rights to a variety of Marvel B-list characters that only would have cost them $25 million (in 1998)? Well, they did. Granted, back in 1998, none of these characters had any cultural impact whatsoever, and in Sony's hands they likely wouldn't have turned into the iconic characters they became in the MCU, but still...kinda funny.
You know you're doing SOMETHING right when your film makes back its entire production budget in the first three days of release.
Reminder that Robert Downey Jr. is being paid $200m for the next two Avengers movies (and that he made $15 million for about 10 minutes of screentime in Spider-Man: Homecoming). Not saying he isn't worth it or anything, but good god that's a lot of money for one guy.