Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has broken a November box office record after mere days.
The sequel to 2018’s Black Panther is estimated to have taken $180m (£152.5m) at the box office, including preview sales.
These figures rank it as the biggest ever November release in the US, and the second biggest of the year domestically behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which took $7m (£5.9m) more.
The last November record holder in the US was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which took $158m (£134m) in 2013.
Globally, at the time of writing, Wakanda Forever has amassed takings of $330m (£279.5m). To beat Doctor Strange 2 as the biggest film of the year, it will need to exceed $955.7m (£810m)
The new film had the tough task of continuing the story without its lead star, following the death of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020.
Boseman, who had been diagnosed with cancer four years before, kept his illness secret from the world. After the actor’s death, director Ryan Coogler reshaped the film to focus on Shuri (Letitia Wright), the sister of Boseman’s King T’Challa.
The new film sees Shuri and her fellow Wakandans faced with a threat in the form of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the king of the underwater city of Talokan – a storyline that might not be a surprise if you detected a seemingly disposable line in Avengers: Endgame.
While Huerta deserves acclaim for his performance, it’s the way the film addresses Boseman’s death, as well as a moving mid-credits scene, that will leave a lasting impression on viewers.
*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*
The end credits scene addresses an earlier mystery presented in the film: the absence of T’Challa’s lover Nakia (Lupits Nyong’o) in the wake of his death.
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Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) tracks down Nakia in Haiti, and chides her for not being present at her son’s funeral. But, it’s revealed in the mid-credits scene that T’Challa had sent Nakia away as she was pregnant with their child, and he wanted his heir to be raised away from Wakanda.
The scene shows Shuri sat on a beach, mourning the loss of her brother six years on. It’s here that she’s introduced to T’Challa’s young son named Toussaint, whose Wakandan name is the same as his father’s.
It’s an emotional end to what has been a critically tumultuous fourth phase for Marvel, which included films Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Eternals. The best rated Marvel projects have been its TV shows, including WandaVision, Loki and Hawkeye.
The ending to Wakanda Forever infuses the Black Panther franchise with a form of optimism, leaving viewers hopeful that Boseman’s spirit will live on in the form of his character’s child.
Naturally, film fans have been left feeling emotional by the movie, with many saying they “cried” and ‘sobbed” while watching it.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in cinemas now. The film also stars Danai Gurira and Martin Freeman – but not Daniel Kaluuya, whose absence has been explained by Coogler.