- DC’s “Black Adam” cost nearly $200 million to make and has earned $321 million globally.
- It will likely soon fizzle at the box office, and is shaping up to a financial disappointment.
- It doesn’t have a China release yet, and Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens this weekend.
The Warner Bros. Discovery era of DC movies isn’t off to a great start.
“Black Adam,” starring Dwayne Johnson in the title role of an antihero with god-like magical powers, has grossed $321 million worldwide since debuting on October 21.
It defied initial projections, and poor critic reviews, with a $67 million premiere weekend at the US box office. But its momentum since hasn’t been strong enough to put the movie in a long-term favorable position.
“Black Adam” cost $195 million to make, according to IMDb Pro, not including millions more in marketing expenses. As Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw noted in his latest Screentime newsletter, “Black Adam” likely needs at least $600 million worldwide to break even, when considering theaters typically take around half of a movie’s ticket sales (Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for comment on this estimate).
With Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hitting theaters this weekend, “Black Adam” will likely quickly fizzle at the box office.
The first “Black Panther” grossed $202 million in its first weekend in the US, more than the $138 million “Black Adam” has earned in three weekends. Early projections indicate that the sequel could open in that range as well.
Box Office Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins estimated that “Wakanda Forever” could make as much as $205 million this weekend in the US.
China was an essential market for Hollywood blockbusters before the pandemic, but the country’s film administration has been more selective with the foreign movies that are granted release there as it looks to strengthen the local movie industry.
For instance, none of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released last year or this year were approved in China.
Johnson himself has been popular in China. His 2018 action movie “Skyscraper” grossed $304 million there worldwide, nearly $100 million of which came from China. Similarly, his monster movie “Rampage” earned $156 million in China. Both movies’ China gross outstripped their US box office.
But it’s unclear if a China release would be enough to save “Black Adam,” considering how much the country’s film priorities have shifted towards local releases in recent years. And Hollywood studios only take about 10% to 20% of ticket sales from China.
Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for confirmation on the movie’s China release.
On its current trajectory, “Black Adam” is on the way to being a box-office disappointment.
It’s one more thing new DC Studios bosses filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will have to consider when charting the future of DC movies and TV shows.
Warner Bros. Discovery recently hired Gunn and Safran as co-chairs and co-CEOs of the newly created DC Studios as the company looks to implement a 10-year plan for the DC franchise across movies, TV, and animation. Gunn tweeted on Monday that he’s focused on “hammering out the new DCU” and “telling the biggest story ever told.”