For The First Time In Recent Memory, Two Films Directed And Led By Black Talent Are First And Second At Box Office

March 11 2018

So now it's official. Black Panther joined the $1 billion worldwide club last week and in just only 26 days. Black Panther is now the 33rd film to accomplish that box office achievement since 1993 and it's the 7th-biggest grossing film domestically. And it will only go up both lists from there. It hit the billion-dollar mark this past Friday, the same day it opened in China, making my previous prediction true that the film would hit the mark before it hit China, a feat that no other film that has grossed a billion dollars has done. This weekend, the film grossed just over $41 million for a domestic total of $562 million and a worldwide gross of $1.078 billion. This number does not include the Russian box office numbers or early China numbers, though it was reported that Black Panther did $12.9 million on its opening day in Russia and another $22.7 million in China on its opening day there.

And how far can it go? At this stage, $1.2 tor $1.3 billion for sure. But can it do $1.5 billion? Who knows? Maybe. It depends on how big the box office dropoffs are every week, and though it looks like the film is slowing down in some countries like the U.S., the UK and Australia, there's still enough gas and people's interest left that it could keep going for longer than people expect. Once again, time will tell.

[caption id="attachment_301893" align="alignnone" width="2700"]Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Director Ryan Coogler on set with Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther/T'Challa) ..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018 Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios 2018[/caption]

But you're probably thinking that must make Black Panther director Ryan Coogler the most financially successful black director ever, but in fact, F. Gary Gray is still by far the most successful black director in terms of box office worldwide with nearly $2 billion, or exactly $1.95 billion in worldwide grosses, that his films have made worldwide to date. However, Coogler is now second $1.27 billion and Tim Story is now third with $1.2 million, followed by Antione Fuqua coming in fourth with $1.6 billion. Unfortunately, there are no black women directors on this list yet.

Speaking of which, Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time opened this weekend. I questioned last week if those people screaming about wanting to see different black images on the screen, and especially more in sci-fi, would come out to see Wrinkle granted the reviews have not been kind. But then again, most people who have read the book said that it's pretty difficult to translate for the screen. And there was also the major factor of film's limited appeal, which is mainly restricted to young girls between the ages of 8-13. Even Disney and DuVernay said that they don't expect the film do anything near Black Panther's box office numbers, but realistically, what film could do that besides another Marvel movie?

So at first, it looked like Wrinkle was going to do even better than predicted. It actually out grossed Black Panther on Friday night by less than half a million, but in the end the box office predictions that the film would do around $35 million were right, and it came in second with $33 million and another $6.3 million in early international numbers in a few countries which, all things considered, isn't bad at all. Though the critics have been merciless, the word of mouth reportedly has been very good among filmgoers, so time will tell if the film has legs or not. It is also of note that this is the first time that films directed by a black director and led by primarily black actors are No. 1 and No. 2 at the box office. Last January, we had a similar situation with Get Out and Hidden Figures, but Figures had a white director, Theodore Melfi.

Among other new releases, there was the sequel to the 2008 unexpected sleeper hit The Strangers called  The Strangers: Prey at Night, which came in third with $10 million. But The Hurricane Heist tanked with just $3.1 million because, as I have said before on more than one occasion, audiences can smell a stinker a mile away.

But faring even worse was the David Oyelowo action/comedy Gringo, which made only $2.6 million. Compared to Black Panther, Gringo looked like a Kevin Hart reject and decidedly very old fashioned and stereotyped.

Full list:

1) Black Panther BV $41,136,000 Total: $562,015,601

2) A Wrinkle in Time BV $33,316,000

3) Strangers: Prey at Night Aviron $10,480,000

4) Red Sparrow Fox $8,150,000 Total $31,118,743

5) Game Night WB (NL) $7,905,000 Total $45,045,632

6) Peter Rabbit Sony $6,800,000 -Total $93,457,806

7) Death Wish MGM $6,600,000 -Total $23,875,301

8) The Hurricane Heist ENTMP $3,150,000

9) Annihilation Par. $3,150,000 Total $26,094,514

10) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sony $2,755,000 Total $397,263,020

11) Gringo STX $2,630,000

12) The Shape of Water FoxS $2,407,000 Total $61,000,138

by Sergio Mims on March 11 2018

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