Black Panther: The Album is heading for a No. 1 debut on next week’s Billboard 200 albums chart, according to industry forecasters. Those in the know suggest the soundtrack, which was released on Feb. 9 via Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope Records, could launch with over 100,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 15. The album features music from and inspired by the new Marvel Studios film Black Panther, which opens in theaters on Feb. 16.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the new Feb. 24, 2018-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Black Panther will likely debut at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Feb. 18.
The Black Panther album includes five tracks featuring Kendrick Lamar — who curated and produced the album with Top Dawg Entertainment’s Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith — along with tunes by The Weeknd, SZA, Khalid and James Blake, among others.
If Black Panther opens at No. 1, it will mark the second soundtrack to top the tally in 2018, following The Greatest Showman. Further, a calendar year hasn’t seen two soundtracks lead the list since 2015, when four different soundtracks reached No. 1 (Descendants, Pitch Perfect 2, Furious 7 and Empire: Original Soundtrack From Season 1).
Black Panther isn’t the only soundtrack aiming for a high debut on next week’s Billboard 200. The Fifty Shades Freed set is also on course for a sexy debut, as forecasters suggest it might bow with over 50,000 units. That starting sum should land the album in the top five of the chart. (The Fifty Shades Freed film opened in theaters on Feb. 9.)
Fifty Shades Freed is the third and final installment of the Fifty Shades film series. The previous movie’s soundtrack, Fifty Shades Darker, debuted at No. 1 nearly a year ago (March 4, 2017-dated list) with 123,000 units earned. The first album, Fifty Shades of Grey, debuted and peaked at No. 2 (Feb. 28, 2015) with 258,000 units in its first week.
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