'Black Panther' pounces into China on likely historic weekend

Updated 2018-03-09 14:43:01

"Black Panther" is officially the world's highest grossing superhero movie of all time but this weekend it is facing its final challenge in the world's second-largest film market, China.

At nearly 900 million US dollars worldwide and counting, Marvel's latest blockbuster hit cinemas as well as 571 IMAX screens across China Friday.

Analysts are expecting it will make 60 million dollars this weekend in China and reach the 1-billion-dollar mark worldwide by Sunday.

If Black Panther meets or exceeds expectations in China it will certainly derail the Hollywood notion that "black films do not sell overseas."

No sale?

For years Hollywood studios have maintained that films with a predominately black cast will not perform well in overseas markets. But films such as "Black Panther" with its nearly all-black cast are disproving the myth while breaking records.

"If a movie is good, it should transcend borders, cultural difference, and ideologies," Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with comScore, told Los Angeles Times. "If you have a great movie, I think it can play anywhere."

That certainly could be the case in China. During an advance press screening of Black Panther" in Beijing on Wednesday, CGTN Digital spoke with some Chinese journalists about the film and whether or not it can perform well in China.

"I don't think people here will reject a movie just because of a black cast," Chinese film blogger Clara Chen said. "At least, movie lovers will go see it with excitement."

Chen said that while Black Panther may not be as popular as other superheroes that have already had several solo movies, she thinks it is of the standard and quality Marvel movies are known for.

"The combination of mysterious African elements and Superhero story is exciting," she said. "In addition, music and sound in this movie are quite prominent."

Numbers don't lie

Box office analysts had forecast that "Black Panther" would make about 165 million in North America in its opening weekend but it ended up blowing that number out of the water taking in more than 218 million dollars.

Despite this stellar success international ticket sales were still considered a wildcard. According to Hollywood Reporter, the big unknown was how the movie will fare overseas, where "Hollywood films with a black cast are perceived to face challenges."

Mission accomplished!

The Disney film has already shattered that obstacle taking in over 400 million US dollars overseas preceding its China debut.

Variety reported that in less than three weeks, the movie has become the 47th highest grosser worldwide and the 10th highest domestic grosser of all time with 501.1 million US dollars.

Now all eyes are on China to see if the superhero panther can pounce to new heights in this massive box office market which has continued to smash box office records.

China crushed the world's monthly box office record in February taking in more than 1.57 billion US dollars. The massive haul trampled on the previous record held by North America in July 2011 that recorded at 1.4 billion US dollars.

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