Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Nears A Worldwide Box Office Milestone As The Menu Puts Up Solid Second Place Numbers

angela bassett as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

As the relationship between theaters and streaming services continues to evolve, one worrisome trend that has developed concerns the weekend-to-weekend drops that new films experience in the wake of their debuts. Not only are opening numbers tending to be more modest, but even huge blockbusters are getting frontloaded results when it comes to ticket sales. 

It's a troubling development, and the latest title to raise red flags is Ryan Coogler's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – which has made a lot of money worldwide and is getting ready to surpass a major milestone, but had a worrisome second weekend domestically. Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever November 18-20, 2022

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)
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TITLEWEEKEND GROSSDOMESTIC GROSSLWTHTRS
1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever$67,300,000 $287,992,647 14,396
2. The Menu*$9,000,000 $9,000,000 Row 1 - Cell 3 3,211
3. The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2*$8,219,762 $8,219,762 Row 2 - Cell 3 2,027
4. Black Adam$4,480,000 $156,964,608 23,372
5. Ticket To Paradise$3,200,000 $61,556,235 33,268
6. She Said*$2,250,000 $2,250,000 Row 5 - Cell 3 2,022
7. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile$1,900,000 $43,171,784 42,307
8. Smile$1,149,604 $104,579,000 51,569
9. Prey For The Devil$935,000 $18,368,378 61,369
10. The Banshees Of Inisherin$703,000 $7,166,820 7812

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Nears $500 Million Worldwide, But Dipped 63 Percent In Its Second Weekend Domestically

As I acknowledged in my box office column last week, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is firmly on its way to becoming one of the biggest hits of 2022. After having the second biggest domestic opening weekend of the year and more than a full week in theaters around the world, the Marvel Studios release has made a stunning $496.9 million, which is already good enough for eighth place in the global rankings. The blockbuster was expensive to make, with a reported price tag of $250 million (per Variety), but the latest figures posted by The Numbers show that it is well on its way to being considered the latest big hit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That's all great and supports the heath of theatrical distribution, but there are also reasons to be concerned by the film's performance this week. The $67.3 million made by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in the last three days was clearly more than enough to secure the top spot at the box office... but things look far less sunny when you realize that marks a 63 percent drop from the film's $181.3 million start last weekend.

If we're hunting for silver linings, that drop is smaller than those experienced by Taika Waititi's Thor: The Dark World (68 percent) and Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (67 percent) earlier this year, but it's still a steep fall. Prior to the pandemic, it was relatively rare for any Marvel Studios film to see earnings decline over 60 percent weekend-to-weekend after their premiere (Ryan Coogler's Black Panther back in 2018 only dropped 45 percent). Since the launch of MCU's Phase Four with Cate Shortland's Black Widow in 2021, every title has eclipsed that number with the exception of Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.

Okoye and the Dora Milaje in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Looking at this trend (which is far from just a Marvel problem), one has to consider the impact of streaming and the reduction of the window between the big screen and home video. Major blockbusters are still a big draw to theaters, but the numbers suggest that if a section of the audience doesn't go see a movie in its first weekend, their more inclined now to wait until they can catch it in the comfort of their own home.

Box office standards are unquestionably shifting – though it certainly can be said that within the context of the industry in 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a success. The Marvel movies has surpassed Jeff Fowler's Sonic The Hedgehog 2 on the domestic chart and now sits in seventh place behind Thor: Love And Thunder, which completed its big screen run in the United States and Canada making $343.3 million.

There is almost no chance that it will ultimately be able to catch up to the $716.7 million made by this year's biggest hit, Joseph Kosinski's Top Gun: Maverick, but by the time the Ryan Coogler movie is done playing on the big screen, it will be fascinating to see if it can earn more than Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, which made $411.3 domestically before it left theaters this summer.

The Menu Is Off To An OK Start, Cooking Up A $9 Million Domestic Debut

With a budget of only $30 million (according to Deadline), Mark Mylod's The Menu faced some smaller stakes arriving at the box office this weekend, and while it didn't precisely turn into a sensation, it had itself a serviceable start. The mystery/thriller/horror/dark comedy movie has been earning positive buzz since its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and that paid off with a $9 million opening and a second place finish.

In the coming weeks, it will be an interesting film to track. In addition to getting great reviews, the movie is a crowd-pleaser at a time when mass audience tastes are leaning a bit darker (as indicated by the success that the horror genre has had in 2022). It may end up quietly doing quite well if it hangs around in the Top 10 for the remaining weeks of the year.

She Said Has A Weak Opening Weekend Despite Critical Acclaim

Though buzz boosted The Menu in theaters over the last few days, sadly the story is not the same for Maria Schrader's She Said – which also had a festival premiere this fall and has been viewed as a contender in this year's Oscar race. It's still very possible that the film will pick up a number of trophies in the coming months from various critics groups and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, but this weekend suggested that audiences weren't particularly hungry to see the docudrama on the big screen.

Released by Univeral Pictures in over 2,000 theaters nationwide, She Said only made $2.3 million this past weekend – which is an average of $1,113 per location. Adding insult to injury, its sixth place finish puts it behind Ol Parker's Ticket To Paradise, which Universal released in theaters five weeks ago.

With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, Hollywood is providing audiences a lot of big screen new releases to check out this week – including J.D. Dillard's Korean War drama Devotion, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Strange World, Luca Guadanino's cannibal coming-of-age story Bones And All, Steven Spielberg's autobiographical The Fabelmans, and Rian Johnson's Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Be sure to head back here next Sunday to see how these new releases shake up the Top 10, and check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the films still to come out in what remains of the year.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.