UPDATE, Sunday AM: Dwayne Johnson’s long in the making dream DC project has paid off for the People’s Champion, as Black Adam has conquered a hot $67M U.S. opening, the best domestic box office start for him as a solo star, and a $140M global bow worldwide. That’s ahead of where we were seeing it.
“The success of Black Adam is truly a dream come true. We’ve been working towards this family goal here at Seven Bucks for 15 years, applying every bit of experience we’ve acquired over the years to help bring this project to life. So, to be here now seeing how our hard work has been paid off with the biggest opening of our careers is an incredible feeling. Our goal with this film was to establish several new characters in the DCEU that would give us an opportunity, in success, to really expand the universe, but most importantly we wanted to take care of the fans. We’ve been listening to their feedback for years and we were determined to give them what they wanted. Their enthusiasm for the film has been incredible and truly matches the passion that our Seven Bucks team along with FPC and Jaume poured into this movie,” said Hiram Garcia, a Black Adam producer and President of Production for Johnson’s Seven Bucks.
The pic collected $23.7M on Saturday. Back out those Thursday previews of $7.6M from Friday’s $26.7m, and Saturday is really up 24% from Friday. What happened? Late night shows were powerful, family audiences came out, and there was a lot of walk-up business in the West and South, with a great turnout by Latin and Hispanic audiences at 26% and Black at 20%.
Audiences are having fun with this movie, with a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the highest for a DC movie in a decade, besting such films as Joker (88%) and The Batman (87%). There’s confidence that Black Adam could even overindex today and beat its forecast $16.6M Sunday.
Once again, another example of a popcorn movie besting the critical Rotten Tomatoes score (40%), as moviegoers come back to the cinemas from the pandemic, something that wasn’t always possible in pre-pandemic times. Critical scores typically dragged on ticket sales at the last minute. Sources told me that if Black Adam was in this RT critical range, there was no way it would go over $60M. However, the Dwayne Johnson movie did indeed go over $60M.
Black Adam producer Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo. calls the pic’s weekend box office momentum “The DJ effect: The way it starts like a comic book movie and then expands to families.” Warner began promoting this movie with a teaser during the pandemic at virtual DC Fandome in August 2020, when a majority of theaters were shut down. Despite WarnerMedia’s pandemic pivot to a theatrical day-and-date HBO Max model for 2021, Black Adam was always destined for theatrical.
Black Adam shot for 85 days during spring-summer 2021. The production had zero Covid shutdowns because of strict protocols, nor did Johnson’s Red Notice have any Covid pauses. “That’s not because of luck,” adds Flynn. However this past January, the producers realized they wouldn’t meet their end of July release because of the backlog at VFX houses. So Black Adam was moved to the third weekend in October here.
“It worked great in our favor, and we got to go to Comic-Con,” said Flynn. That’s where Johnson made an in-person appearance in costume in Hall H to many screams.
In addition to his massive promotion on talk shows and social media, Johnson has traveled Black Adam nonstop, beginning in Mexico, then heading to the L.A. global junket, then to the NYC premiere, a Toronto premiere, a London International premiere, and a premiere in Madrid.
More under the hood with Black Adam: PLFs and Imax drove 33% of the box office. Imax alone collected $6.3M. The top ten theaters overall are: 1. AMC Burbank, 2. AMC Empire New York, 3. Cinemark Egyptian Baltimore, 4. AMC Lincoln Square New York, 5. AMC Disney Springs Orlando, 6. AMC Orange, 7. Harkins Estrella Falls Phoenix, 8. AMC Veterans Expressway Tampa, 9. Cineplex
Cinemas Vaughan Toronto, and 10. Santikos Palladium San Antonio. And the top ten markets were1. Los Angeles, 2. New York, 3. Dallas, 4. Houston, 5. Chicago, 6. San Francisco, 7. Atlanta, 8. Toronto, 9. Washington DC, and 10. Philadelphia. Every film Warner Bros has had this year has opened to No. 1 at the box office.
Gotta give props to Universal’s older female counterprogramming, the George Clooney-Julia Roberts movie Ticket to Paradise, working with $16.34M. Again, projections were at $12M. The movie will soon fly past $100m WW this week.
Beamed Uni Distribution Boss Jim Orr, “An incredible launch for Ticket to Paradise this weekend, as adult audiences loved seeing Julia Roberts and George Clooney and their undeniable chemistry together again in this very funny, heartwarming romantic comedy. No doubt this weekend is the beginning of a long, successful run at the domestic box office. “
Audiences scores of 82% positive and A- CinemaScore will keep this movie as a sleeper as we get into the holidays.
Nothing to complain about at the arthouses, as they show rebuild:
United Artists Releasing’s Till was up 17% on Saturday with $143K from Friday’s $123K at 104 theaters. 3-day off a near 100% on Rotten Tomatoes was $376K and a ten-day of $667K. The Eon production goes wide in 2,000 theaters next weekend for two weeks of play before Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives.
Focus Features’ Tar and NEON’s Triangle of Sadness are popping in their expansions as you can see in the chart below, while Searchlight’s release of Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin did 181K at four locations in NYC and LA for a great $45,2K theater average. The hotly buzzed awards season title was booked at The Grove and Century City in Los Angeles, and the Angelika and AMC Lincoln Square in New York.
McDonagh participated in post-screening Q&A’s on Friday and Saturday, all of which were sold out at both LA locations. The pic was the No. 1 film in the Angelika Film Center over the weekend, ahead of Tár, Decision to Leave and Aftersun – only out grossed by Black Adam at the Grove, Century City, and Lincoln Square. Next Friday, the film will expand into 11-12 additional markets, including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver – into approximately 50 theaters on October 28th, following with a further expansion on November 4 nationally across North American in between 600-800 locations. The film, which stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, follows two lifelong friends who find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them. The movie stands at 99% from Rotten Tomatoes critics; enough to convince adult moviegoers, who are slow to the cinema, that they should definitely go.
1.) Black Adam (NL) 4,402 theaters, Fri $26.7M, Sat $23.7M, Sun $16.6M 3-day $67M/Wk 1
2.) Ticket to Paradise (Uni) 3,543 theaters, Fri $6.4M, Sat $6M, Sun $3.9M, 3-day $16.34M/Wk 1
3.) Smile (Par) 3,296 (-316) theaters, Fri $2.57M, Sat $3.6M, Sun $2.1M, 3-day $8.35M (-34%),total $84.3M/Wk 4
4.) Halloween Ends (Uni) 3,901 theaters, Fri $2.48M, Sat $3.4M, Sun $2.1M , 3-day $8M (-80%)/Total: $54.1M/ Wk 2
5.) Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (Sony) 3,536 (-814) theaters, Fri $1.18M, Sat $1.88M, Sun $1.1M, 3-day $4.2M (-43%)/Total: $28.7M/Wk 3
6.) The Woman King (Sony) 1,858 (-707) theaters Fri $530K, Sat $870K, Sun $500K 3-day $1.9M (-49%)/Total $62.8M/Wk 6
7.) Terrifier 2 (Iconic) 755 (+55) theaters, Fri $545,5K, Sat $725K, Sun $625K , 3-day $1.89M (+84%), Total $5.2M/Wk 3
8.) Don’t Worry Darling (NL/WB), 1,306 (-1,428) theaters, Fri $285K (-62%), Sat $360K, Sun $235K 3-day $880K (-61%)/Total $44.2M/ Wk 5
9.) Amsterdam (Dis) 1,750 theaters (-1,255), Fri $257K, Sat $357K, Sun $204K, 3-day $818K (-70%)/Total: $13.9M/Wk 3
10.) Triangle of Sadness (NEON) 280 (+249) theaters, Fri, $218K, Sat $210K, Sun $172K, 3-day $600K (+80%)/Total $1.4M/Wk 3
Tar (Focus) 141 theaters (+105), Fri $170K, Sat $180K, Sun $120K, 3-day $470K (+42%), Total $1.175M/Wk 3
UPDATE, Saturday AM: Black Adam‘s now expected opening of $60M-$62M by many measures is a solid start, and is the best domestic debut for Dwayne Johnson outside of an ensemble movie (Mummy Returns at a $68M debut was a Brendan Fraser vehicle back in 2001). Heck, Black Adam looks to even beat the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw in which Johnson costarred with Jason Statham, that pic opening to $60.03M.
As we already told you, Friday repped the Rock’s Best Opening Day in a solo star vehicle, now at $26.8M. Black Adam, and Universal counterprogramming older-demo, female-skewing George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, which is overperforming with a $16M opening (it was suppose to do $12M) are pushing weekend tickets sales to $109.5M, the first time that the weekend box office has spilled over $100M since July 22-24, when Nope opened to No. 1 and all titles grossed $124M. In addition, there’s a great diverse turnout of audiences for Black Adam, with 29% Black, 26% Hispanic, 25% Caucasian and 13% Asian. There’s nothing to complain about here, particularly on the exhibition side, as there’s traffic in theaters after a dull spell sans mass-appealing product during this part of the eased pandemic.
Also working in the favor of Black Adam is that audiences aren’t entirely shrugging it a B+ (the same grade as DC’s other darker IPs, The Suicide Squad movies), 4 stars from general audiences, and 90% from kids under 12 on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak and 89% on the Rotten Tomatoes audience meter. This despite the fact that critics found Black Adam entirely confusing, now at 41% on Rotten Tomatoes.
There is an argument to be made that Black Adam is off its early $70M projection when it first hit tracking, and that Warner Bros.’ DC is still opening-gross wise in the shadow of Marvel’s $100M streak track record (DC’s last movie, Matt Reeves’ reboot of The Batman, blasted off to $134M). In regards to whether Black Adam should have been more mass-appealing (this despite the bullhorn of Johnson speaking directly to his fans on social media, which count 420M per RelishMix), or have higher audience scores like a Marvel movie, that’s for New Line, future DC, and Seven Bucks executives to take under consideration should they move forward with a sequel (and this movie from its epilogue, which features another starry DC character, really wants one). Consider, as Kevin Feige says when it comes to making movies over at Disney, how to “plus-it”.
However, realize that Black Adam is a deeper DC universe character, and such IPs rarely even approach a $100M opening figure. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was an anomaly at $94.3M and DC’s Shazam! opened to $53.5M. On paper, at $200M, Black Adam cost just as much as Hobbs and Shaw, which actually turned an $84M profit after all ancillaries. Realize, though, that movie banked $201M in China after a near $95M opening that was 21 days after the US. Black Adam is still waiting on a China date. Furthermore, at a $60M-$62M domestic start, Black Adam is at the top of Johnson’s box office records, so strategically from a financial planning angle, you can’t whine about the performance of this film. This is a great start to move forward with a franchise.
Black Adam drew 65% guys, 35% women, and the movie got its best grades with the latter, who scored it at 83%. Men over 25 led in attendance at 39%, followed by men under 25 (26%), women over 25 (22% who graded it 84%), and women under 25 (13% at 82%). Of those polled by PostTrak, 44% came because it was a Johnson movie, 39% because it was a superhero film, while 32% said it was because it’s part of a franchise they liked, which is the DC series. In CinemaScore exits, the under 35 demo at 60% gave it a B, while the over 35 who showed up at 40% gave Black Adam an A-.
No surprise here to find that Imax and PLF screens are contributing a great 35% of Black Adam‘s gross so far. The Johnson DC pic played best in the West and South, where six of the top ten runs and 15 of the top 20 runs came from.
RelishMix saw the fruits of the Warner Bros marketing machine’s labor ahead of opening, the studio having promoted this DC title since the fall of 2020, with Black Adam having a 1.3 billion social media reach from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Johnson’s 420M fans are included in that. YouTube viral reposting video rate is exceptional at 93:1 and 460M views for earned/studio owned views — plus another 98M views on TikTok with the stunning social stat coming from 696M Instagram views on The Rock’s person page which has 342M fans.
Among the pic’s upbeat chatter on social, RelishMix notes, “The overall tone of excitement for this new franchise in the DCU are filled with expectations of future interactions with Batman, Superman, Aquaman and Shazam and the Justice League and how The Rock is a perfect fit for the role and his ‘awesome suit’. Pierce Brosnan is drawing strong attention for his role as Dr. Fate.”
Johnson working overtime with surprise appearances at theaters this weekend. The ultimate pro:
Universal has played it smart with Ticket to Paradise, with the pic set to $96M worldwide after its US/Canada opening this weekend. A divide here, of course, between critics who aren’t wowed at 56%, and the 71% skewing-female audiences who gave it an A- CinemaScore along with solid PostTrak ratings of 81% and 65%. Eighty percent of the audience was over 25, 61% over 35 and 44% over 45 years old. Diversity demos were 61% White, 22% Latino, 6% Black, & 11% Asian/Other. The movie played best in the Midwest and Southeast. The top gross came from Boca Raton, and there are no NYC theaters in the top 10 until Lincoln Square, which ranks 11th. We don’t usually see that.
Different type of movie, but Ticket to Paradise is just ahead of the Clooney-Roberts thriller combo, Money Monster, which opened to $14.7M. There’s been few adult-skewing romantic comedies at the box office, and the start here for Ticket to Paradise bests that of Universal’s pre-pandemic Last Christmas ($11.7M), and even Marry Me ($7.9M). But that latter Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson pic was slowed by a day-and-date on Peacock.
United Artists Releasing and Eon’s Till went to 104 runs in 28 markets and had some good plays in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis Baltimore, NYC and LA before going wide next weekend. $312k weekend outlook, +29% for a $602K ten-day run off a near 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
1.) Black Adam (NL) 4,402 theaters, Fri $26.8M, 3-day $60M-$62M/Wk 1
2.) Ticket to Paradise (Uni) 3,543 theaters, Fri $6.4M/3-day $16M/Wk 1
3.) Smile (Par) 3,296 (-316) theaters, Fri $2.57M (-32%) 3-day $8.5M (-32%), 3-day $84.5M/Wk 4
4.) Halloween Ends (Uni) 3,901 theaters, Fri $2.47M (-88%), 3-day $8M (-80%)/Total: $54.1M/ Wk 2
5.) Lyle, Lyle Crocodile (Sony) 3,536 (-814) theaters, Fri $1.18M (-42%), 3-day $4.4M (-39%)/Total: $28.9M/Wk 3
6.) Terrifier 2 (Iconic) 755 (+55) theaters, Fri $545,5K (+118%), 3-day $2.1M, Total $5.4M/Wk 3
7.) The Woman King (Sony) 1,858 (-707) theaters Fri $520K (-49%), 3-day $1.875M (-49%)/Total $62.8M/Wk 6
8.) Don’t Worry Darling (NL/WB), 1,306 (-1,428) theaters, Fri $285K (-62%), 3-day $895K (-60%)/Total $44.2M/ Wk 5
9.) Amsterdam (Dis) 1,750 theaters (-1,255), Fri $257K (-71%), 3-day $807K(-72%)/Total: $13.9M/Wk 3
10.) Triangle of Sadness (NEON) 280 (+249) theaters, Fri, $215K (+63%), 3-day $645K/Total $1.4M/Wk 3
UPDATE, Friday late afternoon: We are hearing from sources that Black Adam is set to make $25 million on Friday, which would easily be the best opening day for Dwayne Johnson among his solo projects. That list includes Hobbs & Shaw ($23.6M), Mummy Returns ($23.1M) Jumanji: Next Level ($19.7M) and San Andreas ($18.1M). Today’s $25M includes last night’s $7.6M in preview screenings.
A $25M first day currently puts the New Line/DC movie at a $60M start. Families could put this higher tomorrow; we’ll see. Hobbs & Shaw opened to $60M during the first weekend of August 2019. Black Adam is also 16% behind F9 ($29.9M), which got to a $70M opening. Triple note: Johnson didn’t star in F9, however, it’s being used as a comp. Black Adam is booked at 4,402 theaters.
Universal owns the second and third spots, respectively, during this domestic box office frame with the George Clooney-Julia Roberts rom-com Ticket to Paradise ($5.5M Friday, $13.7M opening at 3,543 theaters) and the second weekend of Halloween Ends ($2.7M Friday, off 87%, good for $8.7M at 3,901 theaters, -78%; running total $54.8M).
The fourth weekend of Paramount horror movie Smile is fourth at 3,296 theaters. Its Friday is at $2.7M, -30%, a three-day total of $8.9M, -29%, and a running total of $84.8M.
Sony’s third weekend of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at 3,536 theaters is seeing a Friday of $1.3M, -35%; a 3-day of $4.8M, -35%; and a running total of $29.3M.
PREVIOUSLY, Friday AM: The New Line-DC Dwayne Johnson movie Black Adam racked up $7.6 million in previews at 3,500 locations Thursday, a figure that beats the superstar’s previous preview nights for Fast and Furious 6 ($7.5M), Hobbs and Shaw ($5.8M), Jumanji: The Next Level ($4.7M), San Andreas ($3.1M) and Rampage ($2.4M). This is at least a very good start for Black Adam. Fans always come out on Thursday night; let’s hope it keeps up.
While critics aren’t fans at 43% Rotten, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is much better at 88%. Previews began yesterday at 3 p.m.
Other comps Black Adam is besting so far include F9 ($7.1M, which Johnson didn’t star in), Ant-Man ($6.4M), Shazam! ($5.9M) and No Time to Die ($5.6M). F9 opened to $70 million in May 2021, with the rest of those comps debuting in the $50M range.
The latest tracking for Black Adam is $60M-plus for its first frame, cooling down from its $70M number when it first arrived on tracking. The question remains how critic-proof this movie can be. In the new world order of box office at this stage of the pandemic, tentpoles have proved to be critic proof, i.e., Jurassic World Dominion wasn’t slowed by a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and opened to $145M. There hasn’t been anything as glossy, star-studded and tentpole-y like Black Adam since Sony’s Bullet Train, which opened to $30M during the first weekend of August. Audiences are starving, and hopefully for the sake of exhibition and Warner Bros, won’t scrutinize this new DC superhero too severely before making a decision to go to the movies this weekend.
As is standard with Johnson, the overseas prospects for Black Adam are brighter than domestic; industry outlook for a global start this weekend is around $135M.
Johnson’s two highest preview nights were on films in which he was part of an ensemble: Furious 7 ($15.8M) and Fate of the Furious ($10.4M).
Universal meanwhile held previews for its George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, which made $1.1M at 3,000 theaters off showtimes that began at 5 p.m. The studio is hoping for around $12M. The film from Working Title, Smokehouse and Red Om Films has already bagged close to $73M from 75 offshore markets, where it was No. 1 in 45 of those including Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK.
Universal had the No. 1 movie of the week with Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween Ends, also available on Peacock, which did $46.1M at 3,901 theaters. Pic is expected to decline severely due to its avail on the streamer, in the 70% range. It made $1.02M on Thursday, and was beat by Paramount’s Smile which did $1.07M at 3,612. That genre movie in its third week did $17.2M, good for a running total of $76M.
Sony’s second week of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at 4,350 did $430,000 on Thursday, $9.1M for the week and has a running total of $24.6M.
The studio’s TriStar label owned fourth with The Woman King at 2,565 theaters, a $240K Thursday, $4.9M fifth week and running cume of $61M.
Iconic Releasing’s Terrifier 2 in 700 sites did $220K yesterday, a $1.9M second week and running total of $3.4M.