Study Shows Black Panther Poised for a Big Opening Weekend

The release of the newest trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther movie had the internet buzzing this week! AYTM decided to find out just how far the excitement over Black Panther reaches, so we surveyed 1,000 American adults (balanced by age and gender) to get some insights into the newest phase of the Marvel craze.

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The good news for Marvel is only 32% of the respondents to the AYTM survey do not plan to see Black Panther (as shown in the chart below) in a theater, and half of the people who will see the movie (49%) plan to watch it in a theater on opening night. The bad news for Marvel is that the franchise still doesn’t capture female audiences as much as male audiences.

Black Panther chart 1

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Black Panther’s Popularity is Increasing

Among the respondents to the AYTM survey, 66% call themselves big fans or slight fans of Marvel. Another 23% don’t call themselves fans, but they don’t dislike Marvel. Only 11% of respondents said they don’t like Marvel at all.

The data is a bit different across genders where 13% of women say they don’t like Marvel at all compared to just 8% of men. In fact, only 61% of women call themselves big fans or slight fans of Marvel versus 71% of men. Women are also less likely to be fans of the Black Panther character (42% of women are not fans vs. 29% of men) and less likely to see the Black Panther movie (37% of women do not plan to see the movie versus 27% of men).

Of those people who call themselves fans of the Black Panther character, most (65%) didn’t become fans until after they saw the character introduced in Captain America Civil War. However, 36% of respondents to AYTM’s survey are not Black Panther fans. When asked who their favorite male Marvel superhero is, the top three were identified as:

  1. Spider-Man: 22%
  2. Wolverine: 13%
  3. Iron Man: 12%

You can see the breakdown in the chart below.

Black Panther Chart 2

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Overall, more men are fans of Marvel and Black Panther than women, and younger people are more likely to be fans than older people. Interestingly, Spider-Man takes the top spot among men and women as the favorite male Marvel superhero.

However, when asked what their favorite Marvel film or film series is their favorite, the following three movies ranked in the top three spots:

  1. Spider-Man: 13.8%
  2. Avengers: 12.4%
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy: 11.3%
Black Panther Chart 3

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When considering their favorite Marvel films and film series, men and women had differing opinions. Women ranked Spider-Man as their favorite series while men chose the Avengers as their favorite.

Furthermore, while Black Panther is gaining in popularity, the movie isn’t the one people are most excited to see from the Marvel franchise. That honor goes to Avengers: Infinity War as shown in the chart below.

Black Panther Chart 4

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Extending the Marvel Brand Beyond Movies

Of course, the Marvel universe extends far beyond movies, so AYTM asked the 1,000 respondents to its survey to share other ways they experience the Marvel brand and the various character brands in the Marvel universe. Respondents were asked if they watch any of the Marvel television series on Netflix. Only 37% of respondents indicated that they watch a Marvel show on Netflix with Daredevil being the most popular (12%).

On the other hand, 54% of respondents experience the brand in other ways. The top three are:

  1. Playing Marvel video games: 26%
  2. Buying Marvel collectibles: 21%
  3. Buying Branded Clothing: 20.8%

You can see the full breakdown in the chart below.

Black Panther Chart 5

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While brand extensions are popular, fewer fans partake in Marvel movie release activities. In total, only 36% of respondents to the AYTM survey indicated that they participate in these types of events. The most popular were buying merchandise at the events (22%), entering contests (16%), playing games (13%), and dressing up in costumes (5.6%).

Riding the Wave of the Marvel Brand’s Success

It’s safe to say that Marvel is successfully monetizing its many brands, and the popularity of the entire Marvel universe doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, as the rising interest in the Black Panther character and movie demonstrates, that popularity continues to grow. Will the brand reach a point of saturation? It seems unlikely. In fact, if the brand can penetrate deeper into female audiences (which is certainly possible based on the popularity of DC’s Wonder Woman movie), its growth rate could increase exponentially.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.

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