DC's 'Black Adam' will likely slump at the box office without a Chinese release, as Marvel's 'Wakanda Forever' threatens to halt its momentum

DC’s ‘Black Adam’ will likely slump at the box office without a Chinese release, as Marvel’s ‘Wakanda Forever’ threatens to halt its momentum

  • DC’s “Black Adam” cost nearly $200 million and grossed $321 million worldwide.
  • It will likely plummet at the box office soon and turn into a financial disappointment.
  • It doesn’t have a China release yet, and Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens this weekend.

The Warner Bros. era Discovery of DC movies did not start well.

“Black Adam,” starring Dwayne Johnson in the title role of an anti-hero with divine magical powers, has grossed $321 million worldwide since its Oct. 21 debut.

It defied initial projections and poor reviews from critics, with a $67 million US box office premiere weekend. But its momentum since hasn’t been strong enough to put the film in a favorable long-term 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, considering that theaters typically take about half of a film’s ticket sales (Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for comment on this estimate).

With Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in theaters this weekend, “Black Adam” is likely to plummet quickly at the box office.

The first “Black Panther” made $202 million in its first weekend in the United States, more than the $138 million “Black Adam” earned in three weekends. Early projections indicate that the sequel could also open within this range.

Box Office Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins has estimated that “Wakanda Forever” could gross up to $205 million this weekend in the United States.

And “Black Adam” also has not yet approved for release in Chinaaccording to box office analyst Gitesh Pandya, founder of BoxOfficeGuru.com, who said he confirmed that with Warner Bros.

China was a key market for Hollywood blockbusters before the pandemic, but the country’s film administration has been more selective with foreign films allowed to be released there as it seeks to bolster the local film industry.

For example, none of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released last year or this year have been approved in China.

Johnson himself has been popular in China. His 2018 action flick “Skyscraper” grossed $304 million worldwide, including nearly $100 million from China. Likewise, his monster movie “Rampage” grossed $156 million in China. Both films’ Chinese revenue exceeded their US box office.

But it’s unclear whether a China release would be enough to save “Black Adam,” given the shift in the country’s filmmaking priorities toward local releases in recent years. And Hollywood studios only take about 10-20% of ticket sales from China.

Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for confirmation regarding the film’s release in China.

On its current trajectory, “Black Adam” is on track to be a box office disappointment.

It’s one more thing DC Studios new bosses, filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran, will have to consider when charting the future of DC’s movies and TV shows.

Warner Bros. Discovery recently hired Gunn and Safran as co-presidents and co-CEOs of newly created DC Studios as the company seeks to implement a 10-year plan for the DC franchise in films, television and animation. Gunn tweeted on Monday that he was focused on “crafting the new DCU” and “telling the greatest story ever told.”


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