Black Panther just keeps smashing box office records

Black Panther isn’t just a terrific movie — it’s also proved to be a record-crushing machine. Here’s a quick roundup of its success thus far:

It had the fifth-largest opening weekend in history.

It crushed overseas sales projections and challenged the industry notion that “black films don’t travel.”

It passed Titanic to become the third highest-grossing movie of all time in the US, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar.

That means it’s now the highest-grossing film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — as well as the biggest superhero movie of all time.

And now it’s en route to another huge milestone. On Thursday, the movie topped $676 million in the US, a number that surpasses the total theatrical grosses of Iron Man ($318 million), Thor ($181 million), and the first Captain America ($177 million) film — combined.

Of course, box office is only a measure of commercial success, and it can be dangerous to equate box office haul with cinematic greatness. But in the case of Black Panther, it’s well earned. It’s a terrific film, one that shatters stereotypes about race and gender in tentpole blockbusters, explores important ideas about black culture and Afrofuturism, and is a genuinely fun, well-made movie to boot.

The movie’s been out for nine weeks, which means it’s likely slowing down. But T’Challa and co. are part of the force that will likely propel next week’s Avengers: Infinity War into the box office stratosphere and their popularity with moviegoers means they’re not going away any time soon. At this rate, Wakanda will, indeed, be with us forever.

Art buyers find few investment masterpieces

It was only when Jussi Pylkk√§nen was climbing down from the auctioneer’s rostrum that he realised the scale of what had just happened.

Having presided over the sale of a ravishing nude by Amedeo Modigliani for $170m, it struck him that this surpassed any previous auction figure achieved for the Italian artist’s work — by a staggering $100m.

“I knew the record would be broken, but not by how much. When you get a work that suddenly makes $100m more, that is the greatest single leap,” says the global president of Christie’s.

Since that New York sale in November 2015, auction records for individual artists have continued to tumble, underlining the appetite of super-rich collectors for the most desirable works of art. The global caravan of auctions, gallery shows and art fairs, which this week pauses in London for the annual Frieze fair, rumbles on in anticipation of the next masterwork to be offered for sale.

Many of those buying high-value art argue that the money involved is less important than gaining possession of a unique object of unimpeachable beauty or artistic value (and, perhaps, the chance to stand out from the gilded crowd). The idea of art as an investment is a secondary function, if at all. “You’re supposed to buy art because you like it. It’s a terribly corny phrase, but you get a ‘dividend of pleasure’,” says Bendor Grosvenor, a broadcaster and former art dealer.