ComScore reports that the February box office cleared the $1 billion mark for the first time ever thanks to, of course, Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther repping 43% of all ticket sales in U.S/Canada or $428.8M.

One could easily say that it’s summer in winter, but we’ve known that for a while: The off-season has become so much richer at the box office than the May through Labor Day weekend period. Again, it boils down to great product changing the game. Who knew that September had the potential for an event film in it with It ($327.4M) driving all business to a record high for that month of $700M?

Fifty Shades Freed

Also propelling February were such pics as Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed ($91.7M), Sony Animation’s Peter Rabbit ($73.4M), and those Teflon holiday holdovers Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($47.6M) and 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman ($32.7M).

Because of Black Panther the 2018 box office for the period of Jan. 1 through March 4 is roaring close to 11% ahead of the same period a year ago with $2.1 billion. Summer with its vibrant young franchises doesn’t look to slow business down, but it will have to overcompensate for the year-end holiday season which lacks a Star Wars film, but has Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman. This weekend rolling spring breaks begin with Friday showing 7% K-12 and 17% colleges out, rising to respectively 18% and 37% next Monday.

This February was +4.6% over January’s $958.3M ticket sales. In regards to recent months clearing the $1 billion mark: November earned $1.01 billion while December rang up $1.3 billion.

It’s interesting that February 2016 doesn’t rank as the previous box office high for the month after this year. That’s when Deadpool opened making $287.6M of its $363M domestic B.O. over the course of 18 days. February 2016 earned $798M, the third best ever. February 2012 held the previous high prior to last month with $818.4M propped by three $100M-plus grossing titles: The Vow, Safe House and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.