WHENEVER A cultural milestone lands, pop seismology dictates that it be measured not just by mood, but math. And so it will be with this weekend’s rise of “Black Panther.”
As projections continue to be adjusted upward, Box Office Mojo reports that it is anticipating a three-day opening weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the range of $185 million and a four-day total (Friday through the Monday holiday) of about $210 million for the new Marvel movie, which opens on more than 4,000 screens.
“Black Panther” already had ticket retailer Fandango’s largest presale ever for a non-Star Wars film, and has grossed $47 million overseas.
Here are some of the records the film could break this weekend:
Biggest pre-summer three-day opening
For days, “Black Panther” has been tracking to become the biggest February three-day opening ever — it is likely to beat Fox’s “Deadpool,” which opened to $132.4 million over its first three days two years ago. Now, the film has the record of biggest pre-summer opening ever in its sights.
The only pre-summer season release ever to top $170 million over a three-day debut is Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened to $174.8 million last March.
Biggest Presidents’ Day four-day weekend opening
“Black Panther” should also topple “Deadpool’s” Presidents’ Day four-day weekend record of $152.1 million.
Biggest pre-summer preview night
The Marvel movie earned $25.2 million from Thursday-night screenings, reports Variety — far outpacing the record for a pre-summer preview night held by “The Hunger Games” ($19.7 million).
Such a tally nearly rivals Marvel Studios’ biggest summer-season preview night ever, for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ($27.6 million) — and tops Marvel’s previous silver medalist, “Captain America: Civil War ($25 million).
Biggest opening by a black director
F. Gary Gray’s “The Fate of the Furious” had a domestic debut of $98.8 million last April, but “Black Panther” will give Ryan Coogler the biggest North American opening by a black director.
Biggest Marvel stand-alone movie opening
No Marvel stand-alone movie has ever opened north of $180 million in North America. “Iron Man 3″ opened to $174.2 million in 2013.
In addition to those accomplishments, every one of the 17 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has opened at No. 1 (yes, even “Ant-Man”), and “Black Panther” will make that 18 for 18.
As “Black Panther” racks up the box office over many weeks, it could even top the biggest film ever by a black director: The 1980 comedy “Stir Crazy,” directed by Sidney Poitier, grossed $345.7 million domestically when adjusting for inflation. No other film by a black director cracks the adjusted Top 250, according to Box Office Mojo.
This post has been updated.