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Marvel's Black Panther is about to enter its third weekend in theaters, and it shows no signs of slowing down its historic run as records continue to fall in its wake. As if the technologically advanced, vibranium-rich country of Wakanda needed any more gold for its coffers, Black Panther is now looking more likely to cross the magical $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. Wakanda forever indeed.
According to Deadline, Black Panther has amassed an incredible $763.3 million global haul to this point. That breaks down to $428.7 million domestically and $334.6 million internationally. The tally will continue to go up from there, as Black Panther, coming off a remarkable $111 million domestic total in its second weekend, is expected to continue its reign this weekend as the calendar turns to March. The biggest newcomer to the field is the Jennifer Lawrence spy-thriller Red Sparrow which, with mixed reviews and an R rating, has little chance of besting T'Challa and company. Black Panther is also just opening in Japan, where it isn't expected to dominate, but every dollar adds to that total. The film also doesn't open in the growing Chinese market until March 9, where advance ticket sales are said to be on par with last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which opened to a cool $69 million there.
All of this adds up to look like it is simply a matter of 'when', not 'if' Black Panther will cross the billion-dollar mark. To put this into perspective, Black Panther has already become the No. 17 release all-time domestically, passing such blockbusters as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Lion King. It is now the highest grossing superhero origin movie ever in North America, having just passed Wonder Woman. While we can nitpick the origin designation, suffice it to say it is the highest grossing solo debut film for a superhero to date. Should it pass the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, it will join an elite club of 32 films that encompass the biggest blockbusters the silver screen has ever seen.
This is all quite remarkable considering how relatively unknown the Black Panther character was among the wider filmgoing public prior to Captain America: Civil War. The success of Black Panther will be analyzed and evaluated for years to come as others try to duplicate this film's performance. This film reflects not just the power of the Marvel brand or interest in the Black Panther character and Wakanda, but also the importance of representation and proof of its financial viability. It is clear that the sizable investment in bringing Wakanda to life on the big screen has paid off handsomely, and even Marvel Studios may need to change its strategy in light of this grand slam.
We'll be sure to keep you updated as Black Panther closes in on the $1 billion dollar mark and looks to join the likes of Avatar, Star Wars and Harry Potter in cinematic history. For all the latest in how a job well done is its own reward, but a billion dollars doesn't hurt either, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.