Black Panther Roars Atop Box Office

This just in: Vibranium, the mysterious, marvelous metal that turned the African nation of Wakanda into a high-tech fairyland, is now only that nation’s second most sought-after export. The first? Well, you only have to go to the nearest multiplex to figure that out.

Black Panther, Disney/Marvel’s latest superhero flick to storm theaters, didn’t just win the weekend: It made the rest of its competitors look like a bunch o’ three-week-old kittens.

Try these numbers on for size: Black Panther is expected to earn $192 million during the traditional three-day weekend. That’s not just the highest February opening in history, but it’s the fifth-highest debut ever. It trails only a pair of Star Wars movies (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), Jurassic World and 2012’s The Avengers on the all-time list, and bested Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3 million) to become Marvel’s second-hottest-starting film ever. (The first Avengers movie is still tops, with $207.4 million.)

Oh, and Black Panther’s opening weekend technically isn’t done. With most of America off for Presidents’ Day, King T’Challa and company are expected to pull in another $26 million more, bringing Black Panther’s expected four-day tally to somewhere around $218 million.

The $169 million Black Panther has taken in overseas thus far feels practically paltry by comparison. No word on how much of that total comes from Wakanda, but no matter: In just a few days’ worth of work, Black Panther has grossed $361 million worldwide … or about what Robert Downey Jr. will likely earn in Avengers: Infinity War.

As far as the rest of the pack was concerned, Black Panther was a veritable black hole, fiscally speaking, with no other film able to escape the film’s gravitational pull. Peter Rabbit finished second, but it did so with just $17 million—less than a tenth of what the Marvel movie made. Fifty Shades Freed, last week’s champ, slid to third with $16.9 million.

The ever-durable Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is still hanging out in the top five, earning $7.9 million to finish fourth and bring its total nine-week tally to $377.6 million. And Clint Eastwood’s critically maligned The 15:17 to Paris cruised into the station in fifth place with $7.7 million.

You wouldn’t know it from the top five, obviously, but the Black Panther had some other newbies for competitors, too—but neither of them got much traction. Early Man, the latest stop-action film from the folks who make those Wallace and Gromit vids and movies, suffered an early disappointment—earning just $3.2 million to finish seventh. And Samson, Pure Flix’s biblical action epic, barely squeezed into the top 10 with $1,972,000. (It may lose that spot when the final numbers are counted, though, given that The Post, slotted in at 11th, made an estimated $1,965,000.)