‘Black Panther’ blows away box office with $192M weekend

NEW YORK— Already a much-celebrated pop culture milestone, “Black Panther” is now a record-setting smash at the box office, too.

Studio estimates Sunday say the Marvel superhero film blew past expectations, with $192 million in ticket sales over the weekend. That makes “Black Panther” the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever, not accounting for inflation. It’s also the highest-grossing February opening weekend.

Ryan Coogler’s film, which cost about $200 million to make, is the most big-budget, largely black ensemble film in years and among the few to be centered on a black superhero.

The strong opening suggests “Black Panther” will easily set a box-office record for films directed by a black filmmaker.

The movie has been hugely acclaimed, with a 97 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences agreed, giving it an A-plus CinemaScore.