Black Panther mania

Highly anticipated film roars to box office records

Observer senior reporter

Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Black Panther is well on its way to a record-making weekend at the North American box office, and here in Jamaica it is no different.

Palace Amusement Company is reporting record levels of sales for this the opening weekend of what has been one of the most-anticipated film releases in recent time which has already pulled in almost US$200 million in the United States.

Marketing manager at Palace Melanie Graham told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that its Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex movie houses in the Corporate Area and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay were sold out for Friday's opening night, which coincided with the international release of the film.

“There is no doubt that the hype surrounding the release of the film in the United States has influenced our local audiences. We are looking forward to an exceptional weekend as movie patrons can't wait to catch a glimpse of what is setting itself up to be a blockbuster. It has been steadily gaining momentum since we opened our box office to advance purchases just over a week ago,” Graham said,

The Jamaican connection to Black Panther runs deep as Nabiyah Be, daughter of reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff is among the cast of the film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.

The film is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by him and Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, alongside Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

In Black Panther, T'Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary in a conflict that has global consequences.

Black Panther has been breaking records in terms of advance ticket sales. In December 2017, a survey by American ticket sales company Fandango indicated that Black Panther was the second-most anticipated film in 2018 behind Avengers: Infinity War. Fandango reported that its first 24 hours of ticket pre-sales for the film were the largest ever for a Marvel film.

The Walt Disney Company estimated yesterday that the superhero movie earned US$25.2 million from its Thursday preview screenings. It's the second biggest for a Marvel Studios film behind Avengers: Age of Ultron, which earned US$27.6 million in previews, and the best for the month of February.

Black Panther is now pacing to earn somewhere between US$172 million and US$198 million across the four-day Presidents' Day weekend in the United States. It will far surpass the previous February record held by Deadpool, which took in US$152.2 million in 2016.

— Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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