The Ryan Coogler-directed "Black Panther" has set a new box office record with an estimated $192 million for its three-day debut in North America.
Disney and Marvel Studios' "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, earned the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth biggest opening of all time among other box office records, according to CNN Money, which added that it's also the largest opening for an African-American director.
The February opening record previously belonged to "Deadpool," which brought in $132 million in 2016.
Media measurement and analytics company comScore called the film an "important milestone."
"'Black Panther' exceeded even the grandest box office expectations while simultaneously breaking down cinematic barriers and marking a turning point in the evolution of the genre," comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian was quoted as saying.
The film challenges the Hollywood notion that "actors and directors of color are less bankable than their white male counterparts," notes Forbes.
Rotten Tomatoes has given it a rating of 97 percent. "'Black Panther' elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories — and introducing some of its most fully realized characters," it says.
The superhero movie "proved surprisingly religious," PJ Media's Tyler O'Neil wrote in an op-ed. "'Black Panther' showed main characters praying to religious beings who remained offscreen, or invoking their aid against one another," he explained.
Focus on the Family's Plugged In review noted that while some of the film's themes "echo Christian ideas and values, the movie's explicit spiritual framework is rooted in another mythos" (people pray to ancestors and praise the panther god, Bast).
Still, some Christians, including gospel music veteran Kirk Franklin, expressed support for the film, saying it represents hope for a community of people.
The film is about five African tribes warring over a meteorite of the alien metal vibranium centuries ago. A warrior consumes a "heart-shaped herb" affected by the metal and receives superhuman abilities, becoming the first "Black Panther." The superhero then unites the tribes as one nation, Wakanda. However, the Jabari Tribe refuses to follow. The Wakandans exploit the vibranium for technological advancements and isolate themselves from the rest of the world by posing as a Third World country, as the film progresses.