Sunday, June 16, 2024

Is “Wakanda Forever” Really Going to Crush Box Office? Friday’s ABC Special Was a Ratings Bust


Is “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”really going to be a monster at the box office? Or is the sequel to the sublime “Black Panther” a hype machine for the ages?

We won’t know until this Friday morning when preview numbers come in from Thursday night. But in the meantime, there’s a solid first clue.

This past Friday night, ABC aired a special at 8pm about the movie. They should clips, had interviews with the stars, etc. If anyone was interested in “WF” this would have been a moment to offer a vote.

Alas, the special did very poorly, with just 2.4 million viewers. And this was at 8pm. Kids could watch it. But the special was trounced by CBS’s lineup. It even scored less than ABC’s own “20/20” which aired next on the network.

Last Friday at 8pm ABC aired a special about “Friends” star Matthew Perry. It did almost double the business than “WF” with 4.4 million viewers.

Maybe “Black Panther” fans are just waiting to get into a theater. But they had a free chance to get a preview, and largely shunned it. An omen? We’ll see…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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