The Rock Film Black Adam Top Global Box Office With $135 Million Worldwide Opening
American-Canadian actor, producer, businessman, former football player, and former professional wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Film, the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe may be about to change with “Black Adam,” but the new film is landing low on the hierarchy of critical reputation for Warner Bros.’ last decade of superhero entries.
With reviews hitting for the Dwayne Johnson vehicle this afternoon, “Black Adam” currently stands at a 32% approval rating from top critics on the the review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Among the website’s broader group of approved critics, it is at 54%. Should the top critics number stand, it would mark the lowest such figure for a DC film since 2017’s “Justice League,” which netted a 23% approval rating from top critics and was so reviled among fans that a reworked version was eventually ordered by Warner Bros., arriving in the form of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” in 2021, per Variety.
The movie arrived hot on domestic tracking this month with a $65M-$70M projection. However, that forecast has calmed to $60M, especially with reviews currently at 53% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. Therein lies Black Adam‘s kryptonite. Hopefully these numbers don’t go any lower. A start in the U.S./Canada at $60M is in the upper echelon of Johnson’s non-Fast & Furious domestic openings, i.e. The Mummy Returns ($68M, 2001) and Jumanji: The Next Level ($59M, 2019). If the film overperforms, it’ll be because there hasn’t been much out there for fanboys since Sony’s Bullet Train during the first weekend of August, which debuted to $30M and crossed $103M stateside. Yes, there was Universal/Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween Ends last weekend, which started at $40M, under its $55M projections due to a simultaneous release on Peacock. Expect that sequel to have a steep fall a la its 2021 predecessor Halloween Kills in the 70% range. Previews for Black Adam, which will have all premium formats including Imax, start at 3 p.m. Thursday.
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After DC’s Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad from James Gunn, which went theatrical day-and-date with HBO Max in 2020-21, and saw respective truncated openings of $16.7M and $26.2M, the brand came back big time this year with Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which opened to $134M and legged out to $369.3M stateside off a 45-day exclusive theatrical window before hitting HBO Max, according to Deadline.
Working in Black Adam‘s favor is the loudspeaker of Johnson’s global social media wattage, coupled with Warner Bros. fiery marketing, which has made it known that this movie was coming out ever since the virtual August 2020 DC Fandome confab when the megastar showed off animated concept art, and revealed characters, all the way through a presence at another virtual DC FanDome last year and a big in-person cast splash at San Diego Comic-Con and Johnson in full Black Adam tights. There was even a release-date reveal by Johnson during the NCAA tourney back in March 2021. One cannot say that Warner Bros didn’t promote this movie. It definitely did for this Johnson passion project, which he’s been yearning to make for years. Black Adam reteams Johnson with his Jungle Cruise filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra.
Expect the movie, as is standard for Johnson fare, to excel overseas. We’re expecting an offshore start in the vicinity of $65M-$75M. This puts the DC title’s worldwide opening between $125M-$135M+. Black Adam begins to strike abroad Wednesday — notably in France and Korea — and by Friday, it will be in 76 international markets including other majors Germany, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and the UK. Japan will join the fold on December 2. There currently is no China date.
That international opening is in the range of such comps as 2019’s Shazam! and last year’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Those titles respectively did $57M and $77M in like-for-like openings and at today’s rates. Recall that the dollar is at an extreme high and having about a 15% impact on recoups from offshore turnstiles.
Exchange rates factor into the potential swing for Black Adam here, as does a lack of mainstream awareness of the titular character. But on the plus side, audiences are hungering for new product, Covid restrictions are essentially over, and Johnson is a massive global draw. He was just in London with Pierce Brosnan and other members of the team on Monday and also spent time in Mexico City this month for a black carpet event promoting the movie.
We’re expecting Latin America to perform strongly as well as parts of Southeast Asia, while majors the UK and France are heading into school holidays.
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Sources: Deadline, Variety
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