Black Panther has been crowned the ruler of the North American box office after a record-breaking $192 million (£137 million) haul in its opening weekend.
Early estimates for the Marvel superhero movie’s first three days on release make the blockbuster the fifth highest-grossing debut to date.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the current title holder, grossing a massive $247.9 million (£176.8 million) in 2015, followed by its recent sequel, The Last Jedi, Jurassic World, and The Avengers.
Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular character, the king of fictional African nation Wakanda, is also leading the pack in a string of other achievements, shattering Deadpool’s previous $152 million (£108 million) record for the biggest February opening, and the biggest pre-summer launch of all-time, beating the $174 million (£124 million) milestone set by Beauty and the Beast last year (17).
In addition, it’s now the highest-grossing singular superhero movie, easily outpacing Iron Man 3’s $174 million debut in 2013, while Ryan Coogler can now boast about having the biggest opening for a film with a black director – an honour previously held by F. Gary Gray for 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which banked $98.8 million (£70.5 million) in its first weekend on release.
Black Panther, which also stars Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, is expected to rise further over the four-day President’s Day weekend (16-19Feb18), with industry experts predicting it will close out the holiday with at least $218 million (£155 million).
It also scored big in other territories, raking in another $169 million (£120.6 million) to take the blockbuster’s current global gross to $361 million (£257.6 million).
The movie’s groundbreaking box office performance easily beats all other competitors in the new North American chart, with Peter Rabbit a distant second with a three-day take of $17.3 million (£12.3 million) in its second weekend in theatres.
Erotic thriller Fifty Shades Freed slips to third place with $16.9 million (£12 million), ahead of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle at four, and The 15:17 to Paris rounding out the top five.