‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ To Rule In 2nd Weekend, Counterprogramming ‘The Menu’ & ‘She Said’ Expected To Open Soft
The overall box office last weekend was $209 million, with 87% of that coming from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s $181 million opening. This weekend will be dominated once again by the MCU film, which has a good shot of topping the charts until Avatar: The Way of Water opens on December 16. The main question is how well it will hold and how much it can prop up an otherwise weak box office, which saw no other film even make it to the double digits last weekend, an unfortunate stat that is likely to be repeated this weekend (in better times, the second weekend on the first Black Panther had three other films above $10 million). This weekend’s overall box office has a chance of staying above $100 million, but that would require a “better than the usual blockbuster” hold from Wakanda Forever. A 60% drop for the sequel would put it at $72.5 million this weekend, which is reasonable to expect, and in that scenario the rest of the box office would have a hard time lifting the overall numbers up into the nine digits, barring any surprises from the newcomers.

The hope is that Wakanda Forever holds much better than this year’s previous MCU films Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder (which both dropped 67-68% in their second weekends), even if it doesn’t prove as durable as the first Black Panther (down just 45% in its second weekend, which is good for any film and especially great for such a huge opener, ranking as the second best weekend two hold ever for a film to open above $150 million and the fourth best grossing second weekend). A drop of 53% would be enough to give Wakanda Forever the tenth best second weekend gross ever with roughly $85.2 million, but as great as that would be, it seems like a long shot.

If it drops akin to recent MCU offerings, that would be a roughly $60 million second weekend which feels like a worst case scenario, but that would still give it a 10 day cume in the high $200s which is a great spread, even if it’s not enough to save the overall box office. As of Tuesday Wakanda Forever has a gross of $205 million, and there’s a small chance that by Sunday it will become the year’s sixth film to cross $300 million, which would make it the fastest to do so of any film this year (so far Top Gun: Maverick holds that claim with 11 days) and tie it for 12th on the all time fastest list (the first Black Panther is tied for fifth, getting there in just eight days). It’s more likely that it will get there during the week, but it could tie Maverick for the year’s fastest or tie for second along with Multiverse of Madness if it gets there in 12 days.

Joining the fray this weekend are some smaller titles, though don’t expect much from the counter-programming. Searchlight has the most potential with their fine dining genre film The Menu, which marks the widest release ever for the label with 3,100 theaters. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult as diners at a high end restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has something more sinister in mind than simply feeding his customers. A comp here is Searchlight’s 2019 release Ready or Not, which opened to $8 million and stretched out to $28.7 million. Critics love The Menu (91% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the other genre fare in theaters has largely run its course, so it could have a solid run. Less is expected from She Said, which Universal is bringing to 2000 theaters. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor who reported on Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct. An optimistic comp here would be Bombshell, which grossed $5.1 million in its first wide weekend (from 1,480 theaters) and went on to gross $31.8 million, but that had more star power and perhaps a wider appeal in its content and lighter tone. Reviews are great (86% on Rotten Tomatoes) and there is some awards buzz particularly for its leads, so hopefully this $32 million budgeted drama can find its audience.

Also in the mix is the five theater New York and Los Angeles launch of Luca Guadagnino’s romantic cannibal thriller Bones and All. The United Artists Releasing film stars Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, and Mark Rylance and expands next Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving.