DC Films’ ‘Black Adam’ earns a record (for Dwayne Johnson) $27 million on Friday
Ultimately, Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t need a Superman; they just needed a Black Adam. by Jaume Collet-Serra black adam (exam), the first four-quadrant, big-budget franchise mast since Thor: Love and Thunder beginning of July, nabbed $26.8 million on Friday. It easily topped the domestic box office and marks the best opening day ever for a Dwayne Johnson star vehicle. Among his previous major plays, it is behind Fast Five ($34 million en route to an $86 million debut album), Fast & Furious 6 ($38 million for a Friday-Monday start of $117 million), Furious 7 ($67m/$147m) and Fate of the Furious ($46 million/$99 million). It should be noted that it is barely in Furious 7 (even though his few scenes featured a lot in the marketing) while this opening day is bigger than Fast & Furious Gifts: Hobbs & Shaw ($23m/$60m).
If it works like a newer Quick sequel, we’re looking at a domestic debut of $60-63 million. If it’s like legs Hobbs & Shaw Where Skyscraper, it will open closer to $70 million. If he goes out with a 3x weekend multiplier, that Rampage, Jumanji: The Next Level and San Andreashe will flirt with a Venom-a domestic debut worthy of $80 million. This seems unlikely given the poor reviews (45% and 5.2/10 on at Rotten Tomatoes) a B+ Cinemascore (not bad but not superlative) and the preloaded nature of the lowest rated DC Films (Batman versus Superman, the Man of Steel, etc.), but it is not impossible. The entire ‘DC Films New Superhero Movie’ fandom will mostly, but not entirely, overlap with the demographics of ‘Dwayne Johnson’s New Family Action Fantasy’, with the latter perhaps offering a real boost. Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Even if it preloads on weekends, black adam will open closer to Johnson’s big $55-60 million debut (Jumanji: The Next Level, San Andreas, Hobbs & Shaw) compared to its “mere” $35 million launches (Be Smart, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Rampage and Jungle Cruise). Anything over $61 million makes it the biggest non-fast furious opening weekend ever. This is arguably more important than the comparison to other DC/Marvel movies. black adam is the first DC/Marvel biggie where the main actor is taller than the main character since Nicolas Cage ghost rider in 2007 and before that, Wesley Snipes’ Blade in 1998. While we’re talking about a $195 million tentpole for a C-level superhero, for a movie that might not get a pre-Covid-sized boost in China, that’s still a very good opening by Johnson’s own standards.
black adam will open larger than Shazam! which received rave reviews and strong buzz for a $23 million first weekend on Friday and $57 million (including previews) in early 2019. Covid complications notwithstanding , this should be DC’s biggest debut for a non-Batman launch, and yes, I’m counting Joker as Batman-adjacent since Aquaman ($27.7 million Friday / $72 million weekend) in December 2018. It’s another business win for Walter Hamada’s departure and a modest validation of Dwayne Johnson’s relentless (self-)promotion. Discourse, twist and speculation on credit cookies, aside, black adam plays like a next-level Dwayne Johnson star vehicle so far with a little boost within the DC Films franchise. Or maybe vice versa. Anyway, and I say this as a compliment, I can’t wait to see Zachary Levi kick his ass in a few years.