The domestic box office debut of DC Films and Warner Bros.’ Black Adam was $7.6 million in Thursday previews. That’s a solid result for Dwayne Johnson, slightly higher than Fast & Furious 6’s $7.5 million Thursday take,
but a significant improvement over films like Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs and Shaw ($5.8 million), Jumanji: The Next Level ($4.7 million), San Andreas ($3.1 million), and Rampage ($2.4 million).
Black Adam began previews on Thursday in approximately 3,500 locations before expanding to over 4,400 theaters on Friday.
The film is still on track to gross around $60 million in its opening weekend, which is less than the $65 million to $70 million predicted by analysts prior to the film’s mixed reviews.
The film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, has been in various stages of development for over a decade, which marketing guru Johnson has been emphasizing on social media and at events in his trademark go-for-broke style.
In recent weeks, he has also hinted at a future showdown between the relatively unknown Black Adam and a significantly more famous character.
Johnson plays a slave who is bestowed with Shazam’s powers and transforms into the savior Teth-Adam in the antihero film. Johnson has suggested that the character’s murky morality distinguishes him from the crowd.
In comparison, both Marvel films released this year grossed more than twice as much in their first weekends.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness grossed over $187 million in its first weekend in May, on its way to a $955 million global total, and Thor: Love and Thunder grossed $143 million in its first weekend in July, for a $760 million global total. The Batman, directed by W.B., made $134 million in its first three days,
but it had far superior reviews and arguably ranked among the top two most popular superheroes of all time in nearly every scene.
The response to Black Adam has been mixed. “Black Adam might not be the hero the DCEU needs, but it’s a welcome shift for this larger world and an invigorating look at the potential going forward in this universe,” Collider’s Ross Bonaime wrote in his review.
The film is also expected to play a significant role in DC’s much-discussed “ten-year plan.” Backroom disagreements and a lack of clear planning put an end to the DC Extended Universe’s ambitions to emulate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Despite receiving rave reviews, last year’s The Suicide Squad bombed at the box office. However, that film was released on the HBO Max streaming service on the same day. Meanwhile, The Flash has had its own problems.
Johnson has a history of rescuing troubled film franchises, and W.B. would like to see the star bring that Midas touch to the DCEU as well.
The week’s attempt at counter-programming, Universal’s rom-com Ticket to Paradise starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, is expected to gross around $15 million, after grossing more than $70 million from overseas territories in the previous two weeks.
Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, and Quintessa Swindell also appear in Black Adam. You can watch our interview with Johnson here, and keep an eye on Collider for more news.