Box Office: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Endures on Top in Second Weekend

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will keep its box office crown in its second weekend, towering over new studio releases “The Menu” and “She Said.”

Marvel’s sequel brought in an additional $17.9 million on its second Friday, down 79% from its opening day figure. Projections for the sophomore outing of “Wakanda Forever” land in the $65 million to $70 million range, which would mark a substantial but standard (for a superhero movie) second weekend drop over 60%. With a $181 million domestic debut, “Wakanda Forever” landed the second-biggest opening of the year, behind only Marvel’s own “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

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While the “Black Panther” sequel is still tracking slightly behind the “Doctor Strange” adventure, the film looks to nab a sizable haul at the box office over the Thanksgiving holiday next weekend, hoping to place itself on the pathway to becoming the year’s second-biggest domestic release, behind “Top Gun: Maverick.” The film already stands as the seventh-highest grossing film in North America, looking to expand its stateside cume beyond $287 million this weekend.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” follows the rulers of the mighty African country as they face the death of King T’Challa, played in the 2018 original by Chadwick Boseman. Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020. When Wakanda goes to war against the underwater ruler Namor (Tenoch Huerta), Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) must band together to save their country.

Beyond the Marvel figures, there’s a fierce battle for second at the box office. Fathom Events released the first two episodes of “The Chosen” Season 3 in 2,009 theaters in a move that now seems to be a resounding success. The excerpts from the religious TV series, which follows Jesus Christ’s relationship with his disciples, could gross $10 million in three days.

This wouldn’t mark the first time that “The Chosen” made a dent at the box office. Last December, a spinoff special, “Christmas With the Chosen: The Messengers,” reached the top spot on domestic charts on its opening night, outgrossing films like “House of Gucci,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Encanto.”

Searchlight Pictures’ “The Menu” looks to replicate the stealthy box office success of recent genre films like “Barbarian.” The shocker earned $3.6 million from 3,211 theaters in its opening day, hoping to push to $9 million or so in its first weekend.

“The Menu” enters theaters with the benefit of positive reviews and a buzzy cast that includes Anya-Taylor Joy, Nicholas Hoult and Ralph Fiennes. The film holds a glowing 88% approval rating from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences have been more moderate, with the culinary comedy landing a “B” grade on CinemaScore — that rating is fairly standard for a genre release though.

Meanwhile, Universal’s Harvey Weinstein investigation drama “She Said” isn’t making much of a splash in its debut. The journalism thriller earned $830,000 from 2,022 locations on its opening day. Reviews have been positive and the film’s “A” CinemaScore indicates that audiences are similarly impressed, but some have thought the film is too inside baseball to work as a wider commercial play.

“She Said” joins a field of other adult-oriented dramas that have struggled this fall, such as “Till,” “Tár” and “Triangle of Sadness.” Like those movies, Universal hopes for the film to emerge as a viable awards contender despite a lackluster box office performance.

Dwayne Johnson’s DC antihero flick “Black Adam” looks to land in fourth on domestic charts, earning $1.115 million on Friday. The Warner Bros. release should push its domestic cume to a so-so $156 million total through Sunday.

Rounding out the top five, Universal’s “Ticket to Paradise” is facing its most dramatic box office dip yet, falling 47% in its fifth weekend — a percentage drop that other films would still envy. The George Clooney-Julia Roberts rom-com has been a sleeper hit through the fall season, now pushing its domestic total beyond $60 million.

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