While Thanksgiving is typically a slow day at the theatrical box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still primed to come out on top for the holiday weekend. The new Disney animated flick Strange World is pulling in a family audience for a projected $20-23 million during a five-day stretch that also counts Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but that still isn’t enough for it to topple Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Strange World grossed $2.5 million on Thanksgiving day, with the Black Panther sequel beating it with $8.1 million. In total, the five-day summary for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever puts it at an estimated $55-60 million.
Previous projections for Strange Worlds had it open to around 4,000 theater screens in the U.S. for a projected $30 million to $40 million. This obviously isn’t a huge number, but considering how family-friendly movies have fared during the pandemic, it’s not a bad box office for Strange Worlds. For example, Encanto had $40.3 million during the same Thanksgiving holiday weekend back in 2021. Films such as Frozen II ($123.7 million), Ralph Breaks the Internet ($84.6 million), and Coco ($71 million) did much better in pre-pandemic times. For now, this is the new normal.
An LGBTQ scene in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has reportedly been cut from the Marvel film’s Kuwait release. The Black Panther sequel has a few different subplots, including the introductions of Namor the Sub-Mariner and Riri Williams, and Wakanda mourning the loss of King T’Challa, played by the late Chadwick Boseman. Unfortunately, when a project includes LGBTQ content, there is the possibility it can and will be stripped once it’s released overseas. This appears to be the case with Wakanda Forever, as a very short affectionate scene between Michaela Coel’s Aneka and Florence Kasumba’s Ayo was removed in Kuwait.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Kuwait release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever included a small number of edits. Those edits amount to just over one minute, which includes the scene between Dora Milaje members Aneka and Ayo. Another scene removed came when a woman gives birth and there is the line, “A god to his people.” What makes the Kuwait cut interesting is it’s the only country in that territory to remove a scene. THR also reports Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar are screening Black Panther: Wakanda Forever unedited. All of these countries are known for scrapping any form of LGBTQ content.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever raked in $28 million domestically in its Thursday previews, making it the fifteenth-highest preview total of all time. The Letitia Wright-led film will show in a total of 4,396 theaters on Friday. Current projections had Black Panther 2 opening in the $185 million to $200 million range, and this early haul gave it strong momentum. By comparison, Multiverse of Madness earned $36 million in its domestic previews and wound up securing $187 million in its opening weekend, while Love and Thunder launched to $29 million in its Thursday showings before bringing in $143 million in its opening weekend.
This opening does put it over 2018’s Black Panther, which debuted at $25.2 million in its Thursday showings. That film went on to become the most successful first standalone film in MCU history, generating a colossal $202 million opening weekend en route to a $1.3 billion worldwide total.