The hierarchy of power at the box office is about to change. Warner Bros.’ “Black Adam” looks to claim the top spot on domestic charts, ahead of fellow new release “Ticket to Paradise.”
The Dwayne Johnson vehicle landed a $26.8 million opening day, including $7.6 million in Thursday previews. The DC Comics adaptation is debuting in 4,402 locations in North America.
Some competitors are projecting the superhero film will gross $62.2 million in its opening weekend, which would mark the first wide release to debut above $50 million since Disney’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” bowed to $144 million in July. Moviegoing has largely slowed down since an auspiciously busy summer season and theaters have been clamoring for a fall release to shock up some foot traffic like “Black Adam” has.
Measured against other DC Films productions, a $62 million opening weekend for “Black Adam” would rank between those netted by 2018’s “Aquaman” ($67 million) and 2019’s “Shazam!” ($53 million). Both of those films also introduced new characters to audiences, managing some healthy multipliers and strong overseas performances — enough to justify sequels anyways, both due out in 2023.
With a $195 million production budget, the weeks ahead remain imperative for the box office success of “Black Adam.” The film won’t face much heavyweight competition until Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hits theaters on Nov. 11.
“Black Adam” has been largely dismissed in reviews, earning a 30% approval rating from top critics on review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Among the broader base of approved critics, the film possesses an improved though still substandard 41%. Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote that “the surprisingly serious-minded (but still plenty pulpy) project deprives Johnson of his greatest superpower — his sense of humor — while giving the now-straight-faced star a chance to play a character with some interesting contradictions.”
Audiences are being much more receptive — par for the course in terms of superhero movies. “Black Adam” earned a “B+” rating through research firm Cinema Score, indicating generally favorable opinions among ticket buyers. That’s the same grade earned by Marvel’s two releases so far this year, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder,” both of which opened higher but held less strongly than their more warmly received series predecessors.
A $62.2 million opening weekend would be a solid place for “Black Adam” to start. Though it’s not putting up the supercharged numbers of Marvel’s slate or DC’s own “The Batman,” it’s a hefty enough figure, especially for a superhero film centered on a new character unfamiliar to audiences. The weeks ahead will tell the tale of what the public makes of Johnson’s anti-hero.
Produced by New Line Cinema, Seven Bucks Productions, Flynn Picture Company and DC Films, “Black Adam” follows a godlike being who reawakens after 5,000 years. And he’s pissed. The Justice Society of America tries to soothe his temper. Along with Johnson, the film’s cast of heroes also features Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone.
Universal’s “Ticket to Paradise” looks to land in second, projecting a $16 million opening weekend. That’s an impressive figure for a romantic comedy — a genre that has largely lost its box office might since the turn of the century. “Ticket” will likely land about half of the opening of the spring’s Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum two-hander “The Lost City,” but that film came with an action hook. The “Ticket” numbers are also a good deal higher than the debuts of this year’s beleaguered rom-coms, “Bros” ($4.8 million) and “Marry Me” ($7.9 million).
“Ticket” hasn’t gotten the strongest reviews, landing a 54% approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics. Audiences are a fan though, as evidenced by the “A-” CinemaScore and the film’s already healthy international gross. Although the rom-com is just hitting the states now, “Ticket to Paradise” has been a hit overseas for a month, earning $72.6 million at the global box office. Universal expects the rom-com to similarly connect with North American audiences and hold well in the weeks ahead.
“Ticket to Paradise” stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney as ex-spouses who are forced to reconcile when they find out their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) plans to marry someone she just met.
As one Universal release takes the box office by storm, another one falls off. “Halloween Ends” is all but collapsing in its sophomore outing, projecting a massive 80% plummet from its $41 million opening weekend. That’s even higher than the 71% tumble its horror franchise predecessor, “Halloween Kills,” faced last year.
It’s hard to say that it was impossible to see this result coming. “Ends” earned negative reviews and an even more damning response from audiences with a “C+” Cinema Score. Along with a whiff of franchise fatigue and its simultaneous streaming debut on Peacock, the slasher finale wasn’t likely to find any legs at the box office. The film’s total domestic gross should expand to $54 million through the weekend. On a somewhat disconcerting note, the $41 million opening earned by “Ends” will likely represent much more than half of its final domestic gross.
“Ends” will likely land in fourth place, behind the fourth weekend of “Smile.” The Paramount release has been a word-of-mouth smash, playing strongly throughout the spooky season of October. Projecting another slim drop (32%), “Smile” should expand its domestic gross to $84.5 million. At this point, the film is officially on $100 million-watch, hoping to pass that box office milestone in the coming weeks. Not too shabby for an original film that was originally planned for a Paramount+ exclusive release!
Sony’s “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” looks to round out the top five, projecting a $4.4 million gross in its third weekend. While “Lyle” hasn’t exactly lit up the charts, the musical continues to benefit from a landscape bereft of family-oriented releases. The film should expand its domestic gross to $28 million through Sunday.
Notably, another word-of-mouth horror sensation is buried deeper in the box office charts. “Terrifier 2,” the epic-length splatter film from indie distributor Bloody Disgusting, added 55 theaters and more than doubled its gross from last weekend (up 122%). It is projected to rank sixth on domestic charts, ahead of high-profile fall holdovers like “The Woman King,” “Don’t Worry Darling” and “Amsterdam.” The micro-budget film only carries a $250,000 production price tag and has garnered a gnarly reputation for the strong, occasionally nauseating reactions that it elicits from audiences.
‘Black Adam’ Rocks the Box Office With $26.8 Million Opening Day, ‘Ticket to Paradise’ Landing in Second