In what’ll be greeted as a good omen by Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther has been crowned the “Most Anticipated Comic Book Character in a Standalone Movie” in Fandango’s end of year readership poll. It was a tough field, too, with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in second, Tom Hardy’s Venom in third, Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey in fourth and Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp in fifth.
Though it’s good news for the upcoming pic, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Black Panther would take the top spot. After all, audiences have already reacted positively to his introduction in Captain America: Civil War and the hype machine is in full swing ahead of the film’s February release (it should also be noted that Black Panther is the site’s number 2 most anticipated movie of 2018 – after Avengers: Infinity War). In fact, eagle-eyed readers will note that four out of five of these heroes are already extremely familiar to audiences in one form or another, either having popped up in supporting or non-superheroic roles in previously released films.
The notable exception, of course, is Tom Hardy’s Venom. Right now, we’re running on rumors and hearsay about the actor’s take on the symbiote brain-eater, having to settle for the film’s producer assuring us that Hardy’s version of the character is something very special. Given that we haven’t even seen a glimpse of him in costume yet, though, you’d imagine that these poll results are going to assure cast and crew that their audience is ready and waiting for what they’re serving up.
Similarly, James Wan should be breathing a sigh of relief that the Justice League disaster hasn’t dragged down his Aquaman solo film. Fans reportedly marked Momoa as one of the few unambiguous highlights of the DC team-up pic, apparently indicating that something can be salvaged from the wreckage of the DCEU.
Circling back to Black Panther, though, and you can expect Coogler’s spinoff to light up the big screen on February 16th, 2018, at which point we’ll have a much better idea of whether or not Fandango’s poll really is indicative of how a film will perform. That being said, the pic is already targeting a huge opening weekend, which is really becoming par of the course for the folks at Marvel Studios.