Does 'Black Panther' have a real shot at becoming the biggest superhero movie ever?

Michael CavnaWashington Post

"Black Panther" may have just topped $1 billion globally, but the year's highest-grossing film has a larger target in its sights: Can the Marvel movie become the biggest superhero release ever?

Ryan Coogler's smash just achieved an in-house milestone, becoming the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win four straight domestic weekends, en route to topping $562 million on North American shores. The film's global total is $1.08 billion.

So where does that put "Black Panther" in the pantheon of superhero cinema?

Domestically, the Wakanda-set movie just passed 2008's "The Dark Knight" ($534.9 million), before adjusting for inflation, and trails only 2012's "The Avengers" ($623.4 million) among comic-book movies, according to Box Office Mojo.

And so far, "Black Panther" is tracking higher; "Avengers" sat at $513.4 million in domestic take after its fourth weekend. Marvel's latest movie also had a higher per-screen average ($10,435) than "Avengers" ($9,364) for its fourth weekend.

So "Black Panther" is well-positioned to topple "Avengers" domestically in the weeks ahead.

Globally, though, is another matter.

Worldwide, "Black Panther" is currently the sixth biggest superhero movie, with nearly 48 percent of its take arriving from overseas, and is about to pass "The Dark Knight Rises" ($1.09 billion).

But "The Avengers" still reigns pretty safely as the planet's biggest superhero movie. The Joss Whedon film grossed $1.52 billion worldwide, with 59 percent of its take coming from foreign shores.

Fraternal box-office competition will also arrive when "Avengers: Infinity War" lands in theaters April 27.


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  • Ryan Coogler