There’s still some time until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters later in November. Yet, that isn’t stopping form early projections from hitting the web. The sequel has some heavy weight upon its back, as it not only has to compensate for the loss of its main star Chadwick Boseman but also faced quite a few production troubles along the way. After a powerful first trailer though, it definitely seemed safe to say that Wakanda Forever will still leave its mark in theaters while paying tribute to the actor that made T’Challa a household name.
According to Variety’s early projections based on Cinelytics, the film is likely to make around $423M domestically. Many will look at these numbers and point out that it’s a far cry from the first entry’s massive $700M domestic release. It’s still very early to say how it will truly perform as the marketing has yet to kick into high gear but there is some concern about the passing of Boseman negatively affecting the film’s main draw. Plus, the first entry was quite the cultural release that went way past expectations.
While many like to callback to Tom Cruise‘s star power for the box office success of Top Gun: Maverick, it’s just as much lightning in the bottle scenario that it had the staying power it did. It became Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever by a wide margin. Sometimes elements just come together at the right time to give films a massive boost, which we saw in the past with Avatar, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and The Force Awakens. The question is rather if people’s curiosity about the sequel and how it pays tribute to the actor.
It could just as well end up surprising many. Plus, Marvel Studios’ main goal is for it to cover the production costs and pull in a profit. If it manages to accomplish that, it’s still a success in their eyes even if it wouldn’t really break any massive records or come near the first release. For now, it still looks like it could likely become 2022’s highest-grossing Marvel Studios release and that might be enough to push the project forward. Who knows if we have another No Way Home scenario on our hands and we won’t know until November.