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Black Panther is on track to become Marvel’s most successful solo superhero movie ever

Its massive second weekend at the box office has already put it ahead of Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy domestically.

Marvel Studios
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Black Panther was the king of the box office in its second weekend in theaters, hauling in an estimated $108 million and hitting the $700 million mark worldwide. This achievement follows an opening weekend that was the fifth biggest of all time domestically and the second biggest opening weekend for any Marvel movie, behind The Avengers in 2012.

To put Black Panther’s success in perspective, its $400 million domestic tally in its first two weeks already puts it ahead of the complete US theatrical runs of several other Marvel films, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Iron Man, and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

The question now is whether it will ultimately match or surpass Marvel’s top two movies of all time at the US box office. To do so, it would need to catch up to Avengers: Age of Ultron’s $459 million, which is doable; The Avengers’ lofty $623 million is a little less likely.

Regardless, Black Panther’s earnings so far are astonishing.

Because it’s the first of Marvel’s solo superhero movies to feature a black star and a predominantly black cast since the studio launched its cinematic universe with Iron Man in 2008, there’s been an immense interest in how well it will ultimately perform at the box office. The idea is that box office success for a movie centered on a nonwhite superhero and cast could inspire Marvel to produce and create more movies like Black Panther in the future (the studio’s previous 17 films have all featured white men as the superhero leads).

Blockbusters traditionally experience a precipitous drop at the box office in their second weekends, but Black Panther and its massive second weekend are a history-making exception. The movie is now on track to at least become Marvel’s third most successful superhero movie in the United States, as it should surpass Captain America: Civil War ($408 million domestically) and Iron Man 3 ($409 million) by this upcoming weekend.

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