Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is one of the most anticipated films of 2022. Not only is it a direct sequel to the 2018 original, which became one of Marvel Studios' biggest solo movies in history, but it will be the MCU's final Phase 4 film.
Black Panther grossed a remarkable $700 million at the domestic box office over four years ago. That is currently the sixth-highest grossing motion picture ever released in North America. It had been fourth overall until newcomers Spider-Man: No Way Home and Top Gun: Maverick went supersonic at the box office over the past nine months.
One reason Wakanda Forever is so highly anticipated is that fans are waiting to see how Marvel will move on after the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. The studio decided to not recast the character and will instead tell a unique story about Wakanda and the introduction of Namor and Atlantis in the MCU.
How will Boseman's passing affect the box office? Well, the first projections are in.
Black Panther 2 Projected for Less than Original
According to Variety, via Cinelytic (a content analytics firm), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is predicted to gross $423.5 million at the domestic box office.
This would be a $277 million drop (39.5%) from its predecessor and the eighth highest-grossing MCU film behind Captain Marvel ($426.8 million).
The projections also included $278.5 million from VOD/physical sales and $139.7 million from SVOD and TV deals.
If this projection rings true, it would equate to a higher box office earner than its fellow MCU 2022 releases. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor Love and Thunder grossed $411.3 million and $343 million, respectively.
Cinelytic also provided relevant projections for other anticipated 2022 titles. Namely, this included Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Black Adam pulling in $328 million and James Cameron's Avatar 2 earning $649 million domestically.
Will Wakanda Forever Be a Box Office Flop?
The short answer is no, but it's all about perspective.
From a certain point of view, Black Panther 2 not sniffing the total earnings of Black Panther is a bummer for the franchise. However, after the passing of Boseman, continuous production issues, and fans split on whether T'Challa should've been recast or not, earning over $400 million would be a win.
After 2018, Black Panther wasn't only one of the most popular superheroes, but a pop culture sensation. Boseman, a Black actor from South Carolina, gave audiences a new, inclusive look at what a superhero can be.
For Marvel Studios, it was yet another box office success, but this time it wasn't just MCU fans filing into the theaters.
Some of that excrement from 2018 will overflow when Wakanda Forever opens in November, but the loss of Boseman will inevitably give this film a lower ceiling.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters on November 11.