Black Panther fight scene T'challa and Killmonger

To say people are excited about Black Panther is a massive understatement. As we count down the last few days until its release, the excitement has only continued to grow with passing time, and so have the box office estimates for Black Panther's opening weekend. Mere weeks ago it was predicted that Ryan Coogler's film would debut somewhere in the $120 million range. Then last week estimates were upped to around $150. Well the anticipation continues to snowball because now forecasts are estimating that Black Panther could debut to as much as $170 million in North America over the President's Day weekend.

As reported by Variety, Black Panther should best the previous President's Day weekend record of $152 million, which is currently held by Deadpool. Before Deadpool proved that the cold winter months can be viable ground for superhero films, the previous record-holder was Fifty Shades of Grey with $93 million. The fact that tracking estimates have jumped $50 million in less than a month is incredible and reflects the numerous signs that Black Panther is going to be a massive hit with audiences and at the box office.

There are a lot of reasons to think that Black Panther can hit this massive number or more, including the amount of pre-sale tickets that have been purchased. Black Panther has not only outpaced every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in history for advance ticket sales, it has outpaced all superhero movies, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In fact, the pre-sales on Black Panther have eclipsed advance ticket sales for all other first-quarter releases in Fandango's history. While the first quarter isn't traditionally blockbuster season, that's still saying something. The box office has been pretty dull so far in 2018, with the biggest success story being a 2017 movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. So audiences are likely craving a cinematic adventure and with lots of people off for the long holiday weekend, that only bodes well for Black Panther's box office prospects.

Black Panther is also entering its opening weekend with near universal critical praise that could drive positive word of mouth and repeat viewings. Black Panther should easily become the top opening weekend for an MCU solo debut film, which is truly remarkable for a relatively unknown character. Audiences will have exciting new ways to experience Ryan Coogler's film and the world of Wakanda too, as Black Panther will be the first Marvel Studios film to be released in the ScreenX format. The Screen X format is a panoramic 270-degree, multi-projection viewing experience. This is an ultra-wide presentation that basically surrounds you with the film. Black Panther will be the first MCU film to be converted to this format to truly immerse audiences in the world of Wakanda thanks to collaboration between Disney and CJ 4DPLEX. The film will show at 101 ScreenX locations in eight different countries, as well as screening in the 4DX format. You can find out more about ScreenX and if there is a theater near you on the company website.

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Tracking is an inexact science so while these predictions are far from certain, it is pretty clear that Black Panther is going to hit and it's going to hit big. I wouldn't be surprised at this point if it hit $200 million opening weekend. We only have a few days to find out, Black Panther assumes the throne this Friday, February 16th. Check out everything you need to know before seeing the film and for all your movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

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