People & Money

Chadwick: The Big Films and the Big Numbers

Chadwick Boseman (1976- 2020) was a man with many faces. With a collection of iconic roles in his filmography, he had a reputation for playing larger-than-life historical figures and culturally significant action heroes. From James Brown to King T’Challa, he lit up the screen with his electric portrayal of characters that had us racing to movie theatres. His legacy as a one of the greats of the silver screen was established by a series of box-office juggernauts he starred in during his lifetime. He featured in the world’s most successful movie of the year on three separate occasions: 2016, 2018 and 2019. Here is a look at some of his biggest career successes:

Black Panther [2018]

Of course, Black Panther, one of the most iconic films of the last two decades that has often been described as a movement, comes on top. The film became such a moment in global pop culture as well as black consciousness. And that moment translated into big bucks. With a budget of $200 million, Black Panther grossed $242.1 million in its opening weekend alone. It went on to gross $1.347 billion worldwide, becoming the ninth most successful film of all time. Beyond its sociopolitical impact, its major selling point was the magnetic star at the center of it all: Chadwick Boseman playing the King of Wakanda. The film went on to win three Academy Awards. For his performance, Boseman was awarded a Screen Actors Guild Award, one of the most prestigious accolades for an actor.

42 [2013]

While it was not the roaring success that was Black Panther, this film brought Boseman broad mainstream attention, highlighting his talent and versatility. Playing baseball legend, Jackie Robinson during the time of racial segregation, Boseman won over critics and general audiences alike, grossing $97.5 million, an impressive number considering the genre. Its opening weekend saw a record-breaking $27.3 million, making it the highest ever for a baseball-themed movie. For his role, he clinched a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture at the 2014 NAACP Image Awards.

Avengers Endgame [2019]

Not everyone can say they appeared in the highest-grossing movie of all time. Boseman can. Appearing in a critical moment in the film, during which his character brings the Avengers an army with which to battle Thanos, his small but crucial role defined the resolution of the narrative. The movie obliterated the all-time record previously held by Titanic and Avatar, making $2.798 billion at the global box office from a budget of $356 million. It had a worldwide opening of $1.2 billion, another unprecedented achievement.

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Captain America: Civil War [2016]

Boseman rehearsed his iconic role in Black Panther during this movie alongside a stellar ensemble cast. The Black Panther film, which was to come out two years later, was largely marketed on the strength of his performance in Captain America. In a film packed with established characters like Iron Man, Captain America, Spiderman and Black Widow, he managed to steal the show as the enigmatic newcomer. As an aggrieved prince looking to avenge his father’s assassination, Boseman’s grit and action-star charisma contributed to the success of the movie. The film brought in $1.153 billion on a budget of just $250 million. It was by far the biggest Hollywood success of 2016.

Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

By the time Infinity War came out, #WakandaForever was already a common battle-cry used humorously on the internet. The promotion for Infinity War cleverly pushed Boseman to the forefront, even though he does not appear in the actual film until the third act. His combined star power with his cast mates turned huge profits for Disney, grossing $2.048 billion from a budget of $316-$400 million. It grossed $640.5 million during its opening weekend.

Gods of Egypt [2016]

Gods of Egypt was a huge film with huge aspirations. Starring Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Chadwick Boseman and Game of Throne’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, it was supported by a massive studio budget of $140 million. The marketing was relentless in pushing it as the next big franchise in Hollywood. Though it did not turn in much profit – it only grossed $150 million – it marked Boseman’s first experience of the kind of big-budget films that would come to define the rest of his short-lived career.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Boseman earned $2 million for Black Panther, he also earned $2 million for Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame. At the time of his death, Boseman was worth an estimated $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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