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Barely into March, and “Black Panther” could be the biggest domestic release of 2018. It’s passed $430 million in its first two weeks, is approaching $800 million worldwide, and is on track to pass $600 million in North America, and more than $1 billion worldwide.
So many records in so little time. However, the film’s greatest impact doesn’t lie with its bragging rights. “The Black Panther” stands a real chance of reinventing the realities of studio filmmaking, of the release calendar, and the exhibition business of North America. Here’s how that’s happening, right now.
“Black Panther” reportedly cost $200 million, similar to most Marvel (and rival D.C. Comics) titles. It will be one of the five or so most-expensive films of the year, and the P&A will cost more than half again as much. In the past, that financial weight was evidence against producing big-budget “difficult” films (read: female-led, or not white). Historical evidence showed they had a ceiling to their grosses.
Level - Fear - Prophecy - Resources - Directors
At some level, this fear became self-fulfilling prophecy. Resources weren’t allocated to worthy directors and actors, so nothing could disprove the theory.
Now, “Black Panther” will be not only one of the top-grossing films of the year, it was also be one of the most profitable. “Get Out” was one of the biggest films of 2017, but Jordan Peele’s hit cost just $5 million. Similar successes like “Hidden Figures,” Tyler Perry’s string of hits, and “Straight Outta Compton” were much less risky investments. “Black Panther” is a game changer.
Roughly, studios believe any movie above mid-budget should gross more than 60 percent foreign, and less than 40 percent domestic. That was an argument against big movies featuring minorities and women: Not enough international interest.
Panther - Lesson - Wonder - Woman - Response
Now, “Black Panther” has repeated the lesson of “Wonder Woman,” proving that domestic response can make up for...
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