Disney's Black Panther blew past industry expectations with a roughly $235 million debut over the four-day Presidents Day weekend, Variety reports. And that number could push even higher as The Hollywood Reporter's Pamela McClintock reports that the "history-making" film might have had the highest-grossing Monday of all time, surpassing 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Why it matters: The movie is making history for its overnight success. It's blown past industry expectations after a year of reckoning around issues of race.

  • Its success is reminiscent of Wonder Woman's premiere last year, which brought a different type of superhero protagonist to the mainstream.
  • A look at social engagement data from Shareablee shows that hype around Black Panther's launch surpassed Wonder Woman for months, dramatically spiking in the final month:
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Data: Shareablee; Chart: Axios Visuals
  • As of last week, Black Panther was the most-tweeted about movie of the year.

Note: Data describes engagement (or total actions) with the official pages promoting Black Panther and Wonder Woman.

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

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By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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