Black Adam had a big opening weekend back in October, and it seemed like all the years spent developing the Shazam spinoff had been worth it. But after that big debut, Black Adam made just $165 million in the U.S. and $384 million worldwide, surprisingly low numbers for a major DC Comics adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson, one of the biggest movie stars in the world. For sake of comparison, Black Adam is not even amongst the top ten highest-grossing movies worldwide; it currently nranks 12th, behind mega-hits like Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but also titles like Minions: The Rise of Gru, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and even Uncharted and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
While Black Adam is still playing in theaters in many places, those numbers mean the film may not even turn a profit — and in fact, per a new report in Variety, “stands to lose $50 million to $100 million in its theatrical run, according to the estimates of insiders as well as rival executives with knowledge of similar productions.” They do note that their sources at Warner Bros. “dispute those numbers” and say the movie is close to breaking even because “ancillary revenue streams have grown more profitable with shorter theatrical windows” and because the movie has “over-performed projections” thanks to “the new home entertainment landscape.“
The particulars of Hollywood accounting are a mystery not even Batman could solve. But whether Black Adam lost a little money, a lot of money, or barely breaks even, the indisputable fact is that it made less than $400 million worldwide to date, a disappointing number for a film of this size. (Its reported budget is in the neighborhood of $200 million before marketing costs.) It’s probably too early to say what that means for Black Adam and DC’s future, but Warner Bros. clearly intended the movie to launch a franchise, and perhaps a whole new era of interconnected franchises. (As Johnson himself loved to say, the movie was meant to change the “hierarchy of power” at DC.)
Whatever Warners planned is further complicated by the fact that the company has brought in James Gunn and Peter Safran as DC Studios’ new CEOs, and they will no doubt have ideas of their own when it comes to continuing the franchise and the wider DC universe. And if they were under some pressure to stick to the company’s original ideas regarding Black Adam’s future (or his potential team-up or face-off with Henry Cavill’s Superman), there’s got to be less concern about that now, given that Black Adam did not sell massive amounts of tickets.
The next DC Studios movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled to open in theaters on March 17. It will be interesting to see whether Johnson’s Black Adam — whose powers are tied to Shazam — shows up somewhere, and in how big or small a cameo.
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