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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Smashes Marvel's Disney+ Debut Record

MovieWeb 2/7/2023 Anthony Lund
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrived on Disney+ last week and instantly shattered the viewership record on the platform for a Marvel movie debut. Of course, the Black Panther sequel hit cinemas in November last year, and ended up earning over $800 million at the international box office. Closing out Phase 4, the movie may not have given Marvel their first $1 billion movie 2022 as many predicted, but it certainly made waves. Now its Disney+ release has continued that success with the movie overtaking all other Marvel offerings in its first five days.

While there were no specific numbers revealed by Disney in their celebratory post, it is clear that there are many people who are tuning in for the release of Marvel Studios latest films when they hit the Disney+ platform within a few months of making their cinematic debut. The real question is whether the quick transition from theatrical release to free-to-subscribers Disney+ offering hurting the box office of Marvel’s biggest releases.

In the last few years, the only MCU movie to have broken the $1 billion mark at the box office has been Spider-Man: No Way Home, and coincidentally, it is also the only MCU movie that was not given a direct to Disney+ release a few months later due to the complicated relationship of Sony and Disney over the franchise. For this reason, the film was mainly been available through On-Demand rentals and purchases only for several months after its release. This potentially led to more people going to the cinema to see the movie, rather than just waiting for its streaming debut.

Related: Every Marvel Movie and TV Show Releasing in 2023

Will 2023 Deliver a $1 Billion Movie For Marvel Studios? Possibly Not.

In many ways, 2023 may be bringing a new phase to the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, but it could have the same issues it faced in 2022 when it comes to really breaking through box office milestones. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is released on February 17, and being billed as a big multiverse movie, and having some very positive initial views, could well end up with an impressive box office as a result. However, along with this year’s other releases of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 and The Marvels, the question is whether any of the sequel movies have the legs to really pull in audiences that are not just big, but billion-dollar big.

The last few years have been a struggle for any movie at the box office, and if the Covid pandemic had never happened, then not only would takings possibly be higher than they are, but we would also have seen the MCU be a whole year further down the line to what it is. In the same respect, almost instant appearances for these movies on Disney+ many also have been something that just didn’t happen, but of course that is something that will never be known. While it is clear that Marvel are still one of the guaranteed box office successes of the year, it is still to be seen whether they can return to billion-dollar form this year.

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