‘Black Panther’ scores mighty $25.2 million Thursday debut

This image released by Disney shows Danai Gurira in a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." Gurira says the representation of women in “Black Panther” is important for young girls to see. The film features a number of powerful female leads, including Gurira as the head of a special forces unit, Lupita Nyong’o as a spy, Angela Bassett as the Queen Mother and newcomer Letitia Wright as a scientist and inventor. (Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Black Panther” is well on its way to a record-making weekend at the North American box office.

The Walt Disney Co. estimates Friday that the superhero movie earned $25.2 million from its Thursday preview screenings. It’s the second biggest for a Marvel Studios film behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which earned $27.6 million in previews, and the best for the month of February.

Preview screenings typically begin with 7pm Thursday showings.

“Black Panther” is now pacing to earn somewhere between $172 and $198 million across the four-day holiday weekend. It will far surpass the previous February record held by “Deadpool” which took in $152.2 million in 2016.

Internationally, the film has grossed $47 million in its first three days with strong showings in the U.K. and Korea.