With the second-best four-day opening ever of $241.96M at the U.S./Canada box office, the rays of Wikanda were felt far and wide this weekend, further underscoring the power of the theatrical business, which the Wall Street media is always too quick to judge is past its prime in a streaming era. Oh, were they ever wrong this weekend.
AMC Theatres, which has taken a beating since a lackluster summer, was over the moon over with Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther posting the second $200M-plus opening weekend in two months time following Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Shares at $14.65 were up 1.7% as of 12:40 PM ET. Black Panther spurred the chain’s second-highest opening weekend ever in its history counting 4.4 million admission.
“In an era of a plethora of entertainment choices for consumers, we are buoyed by the more than a BILLION tickets that movie theatres sold in the United States in 2017. We are even more encouraged that two of the top five movie openings in cinema history occurred in the past 10 weeks. The conclusion should increasingly be clear to all. When Hollywood makes great movies, Americans rush to theatres in record setting numbers. The movie theatre industry remains a giant among entertainment options,” beamed Adam Aron, CEO and President, AMC in a statement.
“Black Panther has taken on a life of its own at movie theatres, playing to huge, broad audiences in AMC markets around the country, and is growing from a blockbuster into a movement nationwide,” added Elizabeth Frank, AMC EVP, Worldwide Programming and Chief Content Officer, “We’re delighted with the stories and pictures of fans who are enjoying the magic of the movie theatre and turning the experience into a community event.”
Among AMC’s highlights this weekend for Black Panther which screened more than 40K times over the last four days: More than 150 AMC locations, nearly 23 percent of the chain’s U.S. circuit, set new admissions revenue records for a single title on opening weekend. 15 AMC multiplexes more than doubled their previous record while two AMC locations tripled their previous record. Sunday repped the busiest ever for AMC with Saturday marking the exhibitor’s second busiest of all-time.
Large format exhibitor Imax, which at $23.13 a share was +2.3%, raked in a global haul of $53M this weekend, the second highest grossing weekend in the company’s history. Of that take, $35M comes from Black Panther at 676 venues and three China releases —Detective China Town 2, Monster Hunt 2 and Operation Red Sea– over the Chinese New Year which grossed $18M. Stateside, Black Panther made $23.5M on 404 screens with $11.5M from 272 foreign hubs.
Imax locations in Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia all reported their best opening weekends ever with other notable overseas markets including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Korea and Denmark. Black Panther hits Russia on Feb. 22 where the pic will get a 4-day early release in Imax and Japan on March 1 and China on March 9.
Said Imax CEO Greg Foster on the company’s footprint in China over the weekend, “This weekend’s China results clearly highlight the benefits of our new, multi-title strategy. By providing Chinese audiences with a greater variety of high-quality content during the Chinese New Year period, we were able to capitalize on audience preference and maximize our box office returns, which were up 60% over last year’s holiday period.”
Advance mobile ticket seller Atom Tickets also reported a company record that they sold more tickets to T’Challa than any other superhero movie. The movie has had a higher average group size ticket order than any other superhero movie. New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC and Chicago repped the top markets for Atom ticket buyers.
“We’re thrilled to see the success of Black Panther, which proves our belief that moviegoing is a social event. When a movie of this caliber comes along, it makes opening weekend a must-see event that people want to share together in only one place – their local movie theater,” exclaimed Matthew Bakal, Co-founder and Chairman of Atom Tickets in a statement.
Many wonder what of MoviePass this morning after such a record weekend? For a company that pumps out press releases daily, they sure are quiet. Distribution insiders believe a record weekend such as this would just flat out bleed the company. Prior to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, CEO Mitch Lowe said that indeed MoviePass was braced for the impact of blockbusters. Now with all the app problems, customer service snafus and random shut-off of accounts that subscribers have been weathering, attrition could ultimately save MoviePass’ day. All of this said, MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson is seeing a share price of $5.00 this afternoon EST, +5.5%.
Other exhibitors shining in Black Panther‘s sunshine include Cinemark Holdings $40, +2.5%, Reading International $16.11, +0.12%, Regal, $22.95, +0.09%, Marcus Corporation, $25.30, +0.8%, and iPic, $11.91, +7.2%.