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411 Box Office Report: Black Adam Dominates With $67 Million Start

October 23, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Black Adam Dwayne Johnson The Rock 1 Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson offered the box office a shot in the arm this weekend, as Black Adam delivered on expectations to take the top spot. The DC Extended Universe film opened at #1 with $67 million, performing a bit above the $60 million to $65 million projections coming into the weekend. It’s the best US start for a film headlined by Johnson to date, beating the $60 million that Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw started with in 2019. (We aren’t counting The Mummy or his main Fast & Furious films, all of which were ensemble casts.)

The opening also represents the best start for a DCEU film since Aquaman grossed $67.8 million in December of 2018. While that bar is not sky-high – the next highest is Shazam! at $53.5 million – it’s good news for an franchise that has had a rough time of it in recent years. It also wouldn’t take much of an upward adjustment for the film to top Aquaman, which is quite possible considering the holds throughout the weekend.

Black Adam was a longtime passion project for Johnson, and a big bet for Warner Bros. and DC Films. While the character is popular among comic fans, he is not the most well-known of DC characters to mainstream audiences. But Johnson has been pushing for the film for years, and even lobbied successfully for Black Adam to get his own solo film instead of sharing the screen in Shazam!. It looks to have paid off for now; despite middling reviews (a 40% Rotten Tomatoes aggregated score), the film is resonating with moviegoers who gave it a B+ CinemaScore and a 90% RT audience rating.

All that suggests that this film may hold on pretty solidly. The audience metric is the best of the theatrically-released DCEU films to date, and a lack of major competition until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in three weeks gives this a great chance. The film added a good $73 million overseas start in most markets for a $140 million worldwide opening. It has a ways to go to make back its $195 million budget, but it’s off to a very good start and Johnson’s overseas appeal should continue to drive those numbers. $200 million domestic seems quite possible, with the foreign numbers putting it toward a profit margin. Warner Bros. is likely pretty happy here.

Ticket to Paradise came in at #2 in its opening weekend, providing a respectable performance for counter-programming to Black Adam. The Julia Roberts & George Clooney romantic comedy grossed $16.3 million, slightly above the low teens that was expected for it. Romantic comedies have had a rough time as of late; the previous high for a romcom opening weekend since the pandemic was $7.9 for Marry Me earlier this year. The last time the genre opened at this level was Yesterday, which did $17 million back in June of 2019.

Much like Black Adam, Ticket to Paradise was met with a shrug by critics (55% on RT) but has scored with filmgoers. The movie has an 88% RT audience rating and a great A- CinemaScore. The star power of Roberts and Clooney were key here, allowing this film to bring in audiences so the word of mouth could keep them coming back.

While Ticket was expensive for a romcom, coming in at a $60 million budget, it’s well-posed to make that back. The film opened overseas last month and has made $80.3 million internationally, which brings its worldwide total to $96.6 million. Again, a lack of competition will help this one in the states, ti the point that it should be able to hit $60 million or even higher here. Don’t expect to see a resurgence of romantic comedies as a whole, but this shows that when the conditions are right, it can still deliver.

Smile continues to perform well, as the horror flick was down just 34% in its fourth weekend to $8.4 million. Parker Finn’s movie is now up to $84.3 million domestically and $166.2 million worldwide, a massive hit against a budget of just $17 million. The movie is looking likely to get close to – and perhaps surpass – $100 million domestically by the end of its run.

Meanwhile, Halloween Ends had a near-historic drop in its second weekend. The final film in David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy took in $8 million, down a brutal 80% from its opening weekend. That is the second-highest second weekend drop for a film over 2,500 theaters, a hair behind the 2009 Friday the 13th remake which fell 80.4%.

Ends is obviously a quite divisive film, and the fact that it was streaming on Peacock didn’t help the box office. But Universal always knew this was going to happen based on past trends. The fall is probably steeper than even they planned for; Halloween Kills dropped 71%. Chalk that up to this film being more frontloaded as the much-touted final film with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, plus the generally negative word of mouth.

All that said, Ends is by no means a bomb. As of now, it has $54.2 million domestically and $82 million worldwide against a $20 million budget, which is nothing to sneeze at. It should be able to hit $70 million or so domestically, a disappointment but still a big money-maker and the third biggest grosser in the franchise (behind the two other films in Green’s trilogy).

Speaking of films that are disappointing, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was down 43% in its third weekend to $7.4 million. The Sony Pictures family film is underperforming to date with $28.7 million domestically and $37.1 million worldwide. The international grosses will be key for this $50 million production, as looking on par for around $45 million in the US.

The Woman King finally fell off a bit in its sixth weekend, down 49% to $1.9 million. The historical action drama is now up to $62.9 million domestically and $82.9 million worldwide. It’s moving ever to breakeven and should close out stateside with around $68 million.

Terrifier 2 c9ntinues to be an impressive sleeper hit, as the gory horror sequel grossed $1.9 million in its third weekend. That’s up a massive 84% from last week’s $850,000. Bloody Disgusting and Cinemdigm had originally planned a one-weekend engagement before it arrived on ScreamBox, and now it has $5.3 million from a budget of just $250,000.

Don’t Worry Darling continued its quick dropdown the charts, as it fell 61% to $880,000. The Olivia Wilde-directed film has now grossed $44.3 million domestically and $82.9 million worldwide; for all the bad buzz around this in four weeks, profitable against a budget of just $19 million and likely to close at around $48 million.

Amsterdam also kept sliding, down 70% in its third weekend to $818,000. The film is a bomb, grossing $13.9 million domestically and $21.8 million worldwide against an $80 million budget.

Triangle of Sadness leapt into the top 10 in its third week of limited release, grossing $600,000. The dark comedy has $1.4 million domestically and $4.8 million worldwide against a $15 million budget. How it ultimately legs out depends on Neon’s expansion plans from here.

Next weekend will see Black Adam remain on top, as the only major new film is the horror film Prey For the Devil which should open around $8 million or so.
BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Black Adam – $67 million ($67 million total, $140 million WW)
2. Ticket to Paradise – $16.3 million ($16.3 million total, $96.6 million WW)
3. Smile – $8.4 million ($84.3 million total, $166.2 million WW)
4. Halloween Ends – $8 million ($54.2 million total, $82 million WW)
5. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile – $4.2 million ($28.7 million total, $37.1 million WW)
6. The Woman King – $1.9 million ($62.9 million total, $82.9 million WW)
7. Terrifier 2 – $1.9 million ($5.3 million total, $5.3 million total WW)
8. Don’t Worry Darling – $880,000 ($44.3 million total, $82.9 million WW)
9. Amsterdam – $818,000 ($13.9 million total, $21.8 million WW)
10. Triangle of Sadness – $600,000 ($1.4 million total, $4.8 million WW)