Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Opening Night Box Office Tops Black Panther

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made its final theatrical stop of the year. Following Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the third consecutive cinematic sequel distributed by Marvel Studios, and if early momentum is any indicator, a third consecutive smash success at the box office. Wakanda Forever raked in $28 million domestically in its Thursday previews, making it the fifteenth highest preview total of all time. The Letitia Wright-led film will show in a total of 4,396 theaters this Friday.

Current projections have Black Panther 2 opening in the $185 million to $200 million range, and this early haul gives it strong momentum. By comparison, Multiverse of Madness earned $36 million in its domestic previews and wound up securing $187 million in its opening weekend, while Love and Thunder launched to $29 million in its Thursday showings before bringing in $143 million in its opening weekend. This opening does put it over 2018's Black Panther, which debuted to $25.2 million in its Thursday showings. That film went on to become the most successful first standalone film in MCU history, generating a colossal $202 million opening weekend en route to a $1.3 billion worldwide total.

Comparisons aside, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has some unique positives and negatives when it comes to the box office. Its slight negative comes in its runtime, as the film clocks in at over 40 minutes longer that its fellow Marvel Studios 2022 theatrical releases. That said, Wakanda Forever has the benefit of extremely positive word of mouth, as the film is already certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and also boasts a titanic 94% audience score.

"For some Marvel fans, this is going to be a more somber affair than they're used to. It turns out that seeing half the universe wiped out by a purple alien isn't as emotional as thinking about one of your favorite performers being gone,"'s Aaron Perine wrote in his review. "Though, when you emerge from the theater, you'll be thankful for the ride Boseman took us all on and the road he's paved for those who walked beside him. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever might be a trip down to the river to lay an old friend to rest, but the journey is necessary to move forward."

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in theaters.