“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” jumped to the top of the box office this weekend after it opened with an estimated $180 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada.
According to the Associated Press, Disney said the highly-anticipated sequel had the second-biggest opening of the year behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and brought in an additional $150 million from 50 territories, bringing the global total to $330 million.
Wakanda Forever was seen as a tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman, as well as the continuation of the Black Panther series. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the movie takes viewers back to the African nation where it mourns Prince T’Challa – who was played by Boseman – and faces an existential threat in the form of Tenoch Huerta’s Namor and his ocean-dwelling warriors.
Boseman died in August 2020 following a private battle with colon cancer.
Winston Duke, who portrays M’Baku in the films, told “CBS Mornings” it was “incredibly difficult” to work on the film while everyone’s hearts were still heavy.
“It was just our own chance to say goodbye, because it all happened so suddenly,” Duke said last month. “When it all happened, none of us knew he was even sick.”
The first that film opened to $202 million in 2018 went on to gross $1.4 billion worldwide. Its popularity made way for a sequel and a script was ready, but Boseman’s unexpected death made it unusable, according to Coogler. Still, Coogler and his Black Panther “chosen family” came together to finish the sequel and remember Boseman.
“In a way we had been keeping him alive by working on the film … and it hit me, it hit me … as it finished, that I wouldn’t– I felt like I would not be able to work with him again. It felt final,” Coogler recently told “CBS Mornings.”
Ahead of its release, Disney CEO Robert A. Chapek told investors in a Disney earnings call last week that Coogler delivered “yet another culture-defining powerful film.”
“The reaction to this film’s premiere a few weeks ago was incredible, and fan anticipation is very high, as indicated by the strength of advanced ticket sales.”
On top of its box office success, it had a positive reception from critics as well. The movie received an “A” from Cinema Score and an 84% from Rotten Tomatoes.
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