As fans count down the days until the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Target wants to make sure they’ve got plenty to think about.
The retailer is breaking an ad co-created with Marvel Studios, starring actress Dominique Thorne, who is set to debut as Riri Williams (Ironheart) in the film before heading to TV next fall in her own “Ironheart” series.
The ad takes place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In between her own engineering challenges, Thorn heads to Target. There, she meets a young girl using LEGO to bring her STEM project to life.
Sharp-eyed fans will find plenty to love, including a first glimpse of Ironheart, actual locations from the film, and a peek at her Mark I Ironheart suit. It’s all set to Janelle Monae’s “I Got The Juice” featuring Pharrell Williams.
The ad is set to run in English and Spanish, first on next week’s “ESPN Monday Night Football,” then moving on to streaming services, linear TV, digital, cinema and social.
It’s the latest news in Target’s elaborate “Black Panther” push. Last month, it announced an exclusive collection of Wakanda wear, including toys, clothing and costumes.
The retailer also has augmented reality activations happening in stores around the country and screenings in more than 130 locations.
It’s hard to overestimate the expectations surrounding this year’s most eagerly awaited superhero sequel. It’s not just how much it may gross, although forecasts are optimistic: “Black Panther,” released in 2018, grossed $1.35 billion. Much of the fans’ longing is more complicated, tangled up in sadness over the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. (The actor, just 43, died of cancer.)
While it’s not clear yet how the film will honor the late king, it won’t be quick. The new film is said to run for 2 hours and 41 minutes. That’s almost a half-hour longer than its predecessor and the second-longest movie ever in the MCU.
For the movie industry, a lot is riding on the film. Variety reports that domestic box office sales so far this year are at $5.6 billion through September, compared to just $4.5 billion for all of 2021. But that’s nowhere near the $11.4 billion theaters grossed in 2019.
The trade publication anticipates that of the potential blockbusters slated for release through the end of the year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will earn $841.7 million in revenues. That’s less than the $1.29 billion it predicts for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” but better than the forecast for “Black Adam,” a DC superhero film starring Dwayne Johnson, that Variety estimates will bring in $553.5 million.