Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Concludes Phase 4 Of The MCU With A Bang At The Box Office

It was a weekend for the record books and one that people in the movie business had their eyeballs on ever since the calendar rolled over to 2022. Marvel and Disney's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" hit theaters, marking the debut of one of the biggest, most-anticipated movies of the year. To put it lightly, it didn't disappoint, setting a new November record for an opening weekend and concluding Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an impressive bang. Pretty much every other studio steered clear, but Steven Spielberg did roll out his latest, "The Fabelmans," in limited release. The question is, how is it going to fare in wide release over Thanksgiving weekend? Let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

Wakanda Forever sets a new November record

According to Box Office Mojo, director Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" took in $180 million on its opening weekend, setting a new record for the month of November. The previous record-holder was "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," which posted a $158 million debut way back in 2013. Move over, Katniss Everdeen, there's a new champion to take the throne. Now, that does mean the sequel fell short of 2018's "Black Panther," which posted a stunning $202 million opening on its way to more than $1.3 billion worldwide. But let's not start any discussion of this in any way being a disappointment. Plainly, it isn't.

The only movie to make more on its opening weekend during 2022 was "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" ($187 million). And that movie didn't end up clearing $1 billion worldwide before the end of its run. With little competition coming out until "Avatar: The Way of Water" in late December, "Wakanda Forever" has a lot of track to keep the money train moving. Not to mention that critics and audiences alike have been responding quite well to the film. That means, it can and should hold better than "Multiverse of Madness," which took a pretty big hit in its second weekend. This is to say, "Wakanda Forever" likely stands a much better chance of crossing $1 billion, even without a release in China.

Meanwhile, the film took in $150 million from international markets, giving it a $330 million global debut. That is a monster figure, especially considering the challenges this film faced. Namely, the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman and having to proceed without T'Challa from here on out. But Coogler and Marvel made it work, even with having to film the sequel during the pandemic. No small feat.

Black Adam passes $350 million

In other superhero news, our reigning champion from the previous three weeks, "Black Adam," had to settle for second place, taking in a mere $8.6 million. That represents a 52.9% drop from its prior weekend, though that drop could have been worse, all things considered. The film has also managed to cross a milestone as its global total is now at $352.2 million, putting it past the $350 million mark. However, given its reported $190 million production budget, it is still a long way off from profitability for Warner Bros. Plus, it is also not getting a release in China, where Dwayne Johnson has typically done very well.

DC had high hopes for this one but it once again goes to show just how ahead of the game Marvel Studios is when it comes to making the most of non-A-list characters. "Wakanda Forever," even without the central star that turned the first movie into a global phenomenon, grossed nearly as much in a single weekend as "Black Adam" did over four weeks. That's the gap that DC Studios co-heads James Gunn and Peter Safran have to figure out how to bridge. No easy task. Not to mention trying to figure out what to do with The Rock's Black Adam now that a sequel seems like a bad business move.

Spielberg is off to the races again

Steven Spielberg is one of our greatest living directors, but his first big post-pandemic test is upon us in the form of "The Fabelmans." This is a personal story for the director and has largely garnered favorable reviews from critics, with our own Chris Evangelista calling it, "a film that's funny, sweet, and comfortably warm" in his review. Be that as it may, adult-centric fare has had a tough road at the box office since 2020, as evidenced by the lackluster performance of Spielberg's own "West Side Story" ($76 million worldwide/$100 million budget). So, how will a semi-autobiographical, smaller-scale tale fare?

On just four screens, "The Fabelmans" debuted with a stellar $160,000, signaling a good start for Universal Pictures, who is distributing the film. But can Spielberg's name, critical buzz, and a great cast be enough to get viewers to show up en masse on Thanksgiving weekend? That is the big question. Again this year, we're seeing awards season movies such as "Tar," "Till," and others struggle to gain traction at the box office. Studios will be less and less encouraged to make these kinds of movies for theaters if they can't put meat in seats. Spielberg is a guy who absolutely can do that. Let's hope he does this time around.

Looking ahead, we've got Searchlight Pictures entering the fold with "The Menu" this weekend, as well as Universal's biopic about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, "She Said," daring to go up against "Black Panther." You can check out the full list of the top ten from this past weekend below.

Top ten movies at the box office November 11 – 13, 2022

  1. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" – $180 million

  2. "Black Adam" – $8.6 million

  3. "Ticket to Paradise" – $6.1 million

  4. "Lyle, Lyle Crocodile" – $3.2 million

  5. "Smile" – $2.3 million

  6. "Prey for the Devil" – $2 million

  7. "The Banshees of Inisherin" – $1.7 million

  8. "One Piece Film: Red" – $1.4 million

  9. "Till" – $618,000

  10. "Armageddon Time" – $352,000