Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Eyes The Biggest Box Office Opening Of The Year

Arguably the most anticipated sequel of 2022 is hitting theaters this weekend, and that means the box office is about to be set ablaze by the Marvel machine once again. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is looking to bring moviegoers out en masse in a way we haven't seen since the heart of the summer moviegoing season – if not even bigger than that. As it stands, director Ryan Coogler's latest may have enough juice to secure the biggest opening weekend of the year.

As we previously reported, "Wakanda Forever" is looking to debut to at least $175 million domestically. But the emphasis really needs to be put on the "at least" part of that, as the film could climb much, much higher come Monday morning. According to Variety, it could well become the ninth film ever to top $200 million on its opening weekend. For reference, the original "Black Panther" absolutely smoked expectations with a $202 million opening en route to a $1.3 billion global finish.

Currently, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" posted the biggest domestic debut of the year back in May with a massive $187 million. It currently seems like "Wakanda Forever" has a very good chance of beating that mark, especially considering the very favorable reviews from critics thus far. Our own Chris Evangelista was a bit mixed on the film but, ultimately, came out feeling positive overall in his review.

A global juggernaut incoming

Back to the bigger picture here, the sequel to "Black Panther" is also eyeing as much as $195 million from its international rollout (sans China and Russia). That means, the film could (and we stress could) get near $400 million come Monday, though it should easily sail past the $350 million mark even if it winds up on the lower end of expectations. So, just how good is that number? Well, "Black Adam" currently has earned around $330 million worldwide total since its debut several weeks back. It's an entirely different ballgame.

The other thing strongly benefiting Marvel and Disney, in this case, is a strong lack of major competition until (the very long) "Avatar: The Way of Water" arrives over a month from now in December. That should give it a huge runway to own the box office for weeks on end. Not to get too ahead of things here, but $1 billion almost feels guaranteed at this point. The only question is, can it pull off a real miracle and top the original? Time will tell. Either way, this is a win movie theaters truly need right now to help end 2022 with a bang.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" hits theaters Friday.

In Marvel Studios' "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M'Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T'Challa's death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.