T'Challa rules: 'Black Panther' smashes box-office records

All hail the king: Marvel film is on track for a $218 million debut, destroying the previous record for a February opening.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

"Black Panther" rules at the box office.

Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

All hail the king: Marvel's "Black Panther" ruled the box office over the Presidents' Day weekend, Walt Disney Co. estimates showed Sunday, shattering records and earning the second biggest opening weekend for a Marvel Studios film, trailing only 2012's "The Avengers."

The film, which stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, collected $192 million in ticket sales over the weekend, Disney estimates, for the fifth-largest film opening weekend ever and the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever, beating the $132 mark set by "Deadpool" in 2016. Estimates show it's on track for a $218 million four-day holiday weekend.

The only four films to have opened higher are some major names: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," ''Star Wars: The Last Jedi," ''Jurassic World" and "The Avengers." 

The film has demolished other records as well. It's the most-tweeted-about movie of the year so far, Twitter announced last week. It's also the fourth-biggest pre-sale movie in the history of ticket site Fandango, trailing only the last three Star Wars movies.

And numbers may continue to climb: Fandango reports that 61 percent of the "Black Panther" moviegoers it surveyed are considering a second viewing.

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