Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time make history

DuVernay and Coogler at the premiere of The Force Awakens in 2015.
DuVernay and Coogler at the premiere of The Force Awakens in 2015.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Thanks to the obsession with blockbusters that has preoccupied major studios for the past 40 years or so, there have been many weekends where two heavily promoted tentpole films—sometimes even from the same studio—have occupied the top two slots at the domestic box office. This past weekend, though, marked the first time in cinema history that both of those blockbusters were the work of black directors.

We’re referring, of course, to Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time, which dominated the U.S. box office this past weekend at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay is the first woman of color to direct a film with a $100 million-plus budget, and alongside her “little brother,” Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler, she crossed another milestone this past weekend, which marked the “first time films by black directors with $100 million plus budgets have ever placed in the first two box office spots,” as CNN puts it.

Black Panther has also crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide after debuting in China, which contributed $66.5 million to a strong $100 million international weekend. It’s the fifth film in the MCU to join the “billion-dollar club,” after The Avengers, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Civil War. Domestically, Black Panther is currently at a whopping $562 million, and has surpassed The Dark Knight ($534 million) to become the second highest-grossing superhero movie of all time in North America, and the highest-grossing solo superhero adventure. (The Avengers currently stands at No. 1, with a $623 million domestic total.) On top of that, it’s now the seventh highest-grossing domestic release of all time, period.


As for everyone else, A Wrinkle In Time’s No. 2, $33.3 million debut is about right given its mixed reception from critics, as is The Strangers: Prey At Night’s No. 3, $10.5 million bow. Viewed by another metric, Armando Iannucci’s The Death Of Stalin was a big success with the week’s highest per-screen average, pulling in an average of $45,327 on each of the four screens where it opened this past weekend. (A.V. Club favorite Thoroughbreds didn’t do too shabby either in limited release, landing at No. 15 in its first weekend and making $1.2 million on just under 550 screens nationwide.) Meanwhile, The Hurricane Heist and Gringo, both of which opened in wide release on about 2,400 screens, were flops by just about any metric, debuting to negative reviews and weak box office at No. 8 and No. 11, respectively.

Looking ahead to the rest of the month, we’ve got a few blockbuster hopefuls coming to challenge Black Panther, including Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and Ready Player One. (All of those were directed by white dudes, incidentally.) But given Black Panther’s long legs at the box office—it’s showing great staying power by hanging on to the No. 1 spot in its fourth weekend, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens—we’re not filing away our list of Wakanda puns just yet.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter