American superhero film starring Dwayne Johnson as the titular DC Comics character. The film is a spin-off to Shazam! (2019) and the eleventh film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, and produced by Johnson. In addition to Johnson, the film stars Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell and Pierce Brosnan. It is produced by New Line Cinema, DC Films, Seven Bucks Productions and FlynnPictureCo., and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The story centers around Adam, an ancient superhuman who is released from his magic imprisonment by a group of archeologists to free the nation of Kahndaq from the crime syndicate Intergang.
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Director Jaume Collet-Serra’s superhero extravaganza Black Adam has arrived to upset the balance of power in VOD markets, securing the top spot on home PVOD entertainment charts this week. Unfortunately, this comes after a disappointing $400+/- million box office performance that, although nothing to sneeze at generally speaking, is still shy of the numbers it needed to overcome hefty production costs.
Black Adam’s arrival on VOD comes ahead of its release in Japan, where it will likely gross an additional $5-10 million in ticket sales. With $378 million in worldwide receipts to date and probably a couple of million or more to come from existing markets before the film leaves theaters, Japan’s cume should help lift Black Adam toward $390-400+ million, depending on how all of the final numbers shake out. My guess is a final tally of $395 million, give or take a couple of million, according to Forbes.
A $400 million finish is right where I expected it to land when I reported on the box office situation four weeks ago, despite a lot of entertainment press trying to hype the results and repeatedly suggesting Black Adam was enjoying a great box office run when all evidence pointed to the opposite.
Let me quickly address some of the angry reactions to my reporting on this film and its performance. It doesn’t make me happy to see a film underperform, especially films I want to root for (which includes DC films). But my job is to talk about these things based on the best data available, to make reasonable informed assessments. And as I said at the time, it does nobody any good to be disingenuous about the situation or deny the problems — there’s no way to expect WBD and DC Studios (the latter of which I do particularly trust now that proper leadership is in place there) to fix problems at the studio and to trust them if we can’t be honest about how films are performing.
Black Adam cost about $180-200 million, plus at least another $100 million or so in marketing costs. So at minimum, the roughly $280-300 million investment needed at least $560-600 million in box office just to break even.
A finish of $400+/- million, then, is around $180-200 million short of covering expenses. That means merchandising dollars will fill that gap, so all of that supposedly sweet smell of cash from the VOD chart-topper will have to cover up the scent of shortfall before anybody gets too excited about it.
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