Black Panther 2 Falls Behind Thor 4 & Doctor Strange 2 In Opening

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Doctor Strange Thor
By David Thompson Posted:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hauled in more than 2018's Black Panther during its Thursday night preview showing but didn't live up to its 2022 counterparts.

The leadup to this November MCU release has been unique, as this film not only finalizes Marvel Studios' Phase 4 but also mourns the loss of Chadwick Boseman.

Anticipation is high for the sequel to be a $1.3 billion earner, $700 million of which coming at the domestic box office (sixth highest ever). 

Marvel Studios haa produced major box office earners over the past 11 months. In conjunction with Sony Pictures, Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $1.9 billion worldwide, followed by Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness grossing $955.7 million globally.

Now, Wakanda Forever officially opened in theaters across the globe, and the first results are in.

Black Panther 2 Earns Big Opening Night

Starring Letitia Wright, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever grossed $28 million during its opening night previews, per Variety. The original Black Panther earned $25.2 million during its Thursday night showing.

In 2022, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder both earned more during opening previews. The former grossed $36 million and the latter barely edged out Wakanda with $29 million.

This places Black Panther 2 as the sixth-highest opening night earner:

  1. Avengers: Endgame - $60 million
  2. Spider-Man: No Way Home - $50 million
  3. Avengers: Infinity War - $39 million
  4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - $36 million
  5. Thor: Love and Thunder - $29 million
  6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - $28 million

Black Panther 2 Opening Weekend Box Office Predictions

Instead of assuming that Wakanda Forever will make less than Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, there are factors why it could ultimately make more by Monday morning.

Veteran's Day could help this sequel gain a Hulk-sized Friday box office haul. The young demographics that Marvel is known for entertaining will likely have work or school off.

Shang-Chi's record-setting Labor Day haul in 2021 ($83.5 million with a 4-day total) is the latest indicator of fans flooding theaters when given an extra day for leisure.

Additionally, overall reviews for the film are positive and less controversial than the previous two MCU films of 2022. Using Rotten Tomatoes as a metric, Wakanda Forever is sitting at an 85% approval rating, while Multiverse of Madness sits at 74%, and Thor 4 has one of the MCU's lowest at 64%.

Critical and audience reception often reflects more heavily on the overall box office gross, such as Top Gun: Maverick's historic 2022 run. However, due to the ease of access to reviews and scores, audiences have never been more influenced (or skeptical) by ratings.

Thursday night performance has only increased over the years as theaters have expanded their releases, but it's not always a clear indication of how well the film will stack up against its competition. 

Wakanda Forever may not reach the heights of Black Panther's opening weekend ($202 million), but it may still out-gross Doctor Strange 2's whopping $187 million.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.