‘Black Panther’ reigns as box office king again, for the fifth week straight

Five weekends, five first-place finishes.

That’s been the story so far for Black Panther at the box office. As its fifth weekend in theaters draws to a close, a domestic box office estimate of $27 million is more than enough to hang on in the number one spot. The last movie to last five consecutive weeks at #1 was Avatar, in 2009.

Part of the success is owed to the general lack of competition Black Panther has faced in the weeks after its Feb. 16 release. The star-studded cast and crew behind A Wrinkle in Time, which opened last weekend, was the first credible threat to the Marvel movie’s box office dominance, but it hung on.

Then there was Tomb Raider, the heavily marketed video game adaptation that opened on Friday. Although the movie is above-average in the context of other video game movies — thanks in large part to star Alicia Vikander — its $23.5 million opening weekend estimate isn’t nearly enough.

Black Panther‘s domestic box office total after five weeks is $605.4 million. It’s the top-earning movie of 2018 so far by a wide margin — Peter Rabbit sits at #2, with $102.4 million — and it’s still got at least one more major record to break in the coming weeks.

Right now, Black Panther is pacing to topple The Avengers as the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe release. The earlier movie completed its May-September, 2012 run with a domestic box office total of $623.4 million. 

Black Panther, which ought to remain in theaters at least until Avengers: Infinity War arrives on April 27, is a shoe-in to beat that number. Perhaps in the next week, and definitely within the next two weeks.

That feat would also make Black Panther the fifth-highest grossing domestic release in Hollywood history. A long enough theatrical run gives it the chance to rise even higher; Jurassic World and Titanic occupy the #4 and #4 all-time box office spots, respectively, with $652.3 million and $659.4 million. Both of those records are in reach for Black Panther.

Whether or not these records will last is another question entirely. Many expect an even bigger showing for Avengers: Infinity War, the ensemble-driven showdown between Thanos of Titan (Josh Brolin) and key superhero stars from every MCU movie released over the past decade.

None of that is to take away from Black Panther‘s monumental success, however. The movie’s become something of a cultural lightning rod for Marvel, thanks to its diverse casting, stellar writing, and willingness to engage with themes that aren’t common among crowd-pleasing blockbusters.

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