Between its stormy takeover by Discovery and its financial problems, which exploded in broad daylight with the cancellation of Batgirl, the Warner saw difficult days. The company is so cash-strapped that it was reported by the HollywoodReporter in August that she could no longer afford the release costs of more than two films for the end of 2022repelling The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in 2023.
Even though Don’t Worry Darling marketed relatively well (about 86 million at the box office, for a budget of 35), it was not boxing at all in the same category as its DCEU companions. As saying that, even for a turbo-blockbuster, the stakes were high for black adam of Jaume Collet-Serra. And if Dwayne Johnson has big shoulders, they seem not to be thick enough to lift the box office to the height necessary.
Many films would dream to collect 325 million dollars at the box office (including 140 on the domestic side) as black adam. But superhero films live in a parallel dimension, and this score does not weigh much against the standards of the genre, and the production cost announced around 200 million dollars. A huge sum on its own, but within the normal range of Hollywood gasworks and the DCEU since Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad.
Moreover, we must add to these 200 million marketing costs, unknown, but generally very high for this type of production.
All this to say that black adam is badly locked out, probably already praying to save the furniture. Business Insider reports that it would take at least $600 million for Dwayne Johnson and his pals to have real successand the already lackluster exploitation of their film will most likely be stopped by an extremely anticipated direct competitor: Marvel and its Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Deadline predicts the latter a colossal launch at 365 million dollars… already more than what black adam assembled in three weeks. Painstakingly assembled even, should we say.
Black Adam? No no, I’m Black Panther, don’t you recognize me?
However, things were going well for black adam, with a global debut above expectations at $143 million (including $67 million on the American side), despite a generally negative review (41 on Metacritic). Unfortunately, this remains too low an aperture for a film of this caliber. To compare, Thor: Love and Thunder did exactly the same start… on American territory alone.
black adam didn’t generate enough excitement before its release, and despite a decent B+ awarded by the public on CinemaScore, the film didn’t generate enough after either.
To reverse the situation, it would have needed a strong popular enthusiasm which would have allowed the film to hold the shock of the second week. But despite a desperate attempt to stir up the sauce around his post credits scene, black adam had a classic blockbuster trajectorylosing 59% of its initial domestic box office audience.
Come on, shall we become friends?
THE STOCK EXCHANGE OR CHINA
The various international territories have also shown themselves to be a little more lenient overall, with a -25% in Mexico or -36.6% in the United Kingdom. France, aided it is true by public holidays and school vacations, has notably supported the film a great deal over the past three weeks.. The Rock thus attracted 1.77 million (unfortunate) spectators – a godsend for ophthalmologists in France, who will undoubtedly make a proud comeback in the coming months without the help of Arnaud Montebourg (friends).
But at this point, black adam must be released in China and be a huge hit (surprise) to really get away with it. A volatile territory, China has sometimes worked miracles in the past, as with the absurd box of Fast & Furious 7 at $390 million. And Dwayne Johnson is a fairly well-identified figure there, as the local scores of Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (more than 200 million), rampage (156 million), San Andreas (103 million) or even Skyscraper (98 million).
Not sure that it gets there, however, as this market is proving to be unpredictable. Jumanji: Next level had thus collected only 41 million, against 78 for the previous one.
Dwayne Johnson welcomed by the Chinese government
Problem: the hypothesis of a Chinese exit is moving away for black adam. At least that’s what an executive reports to the HollywoodReporter : beyond worried, he explains that he has “stop believing” that black adam will be allowed out. Approval takes longer to arrive than usual, and silence from the Chinese government is never a good sign, so everyone now expects a refusal, motivated by several reasons.
According to HollywoodReporter, China would like to protect its market and its local cinema chains, which Hollywood blockbusters would have negatively impacted. Moreover, still according to the HollywoodReporterChina would be very reluctant to circulate a film with Pierce Brosnan displayed in its territory. In question, a photo of the actor published two years ago on Instagram, memory of a trip where we see him all smiles in the company… of the Dalai Lama. No need to draw a picture of the sensitivity of the Tibetan question.
The photo of the crime
Finally, it should be remembered that in the background, diplomatic relations between China and the United States have generally been strained lately. Marvel has already paid the price since Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were not released in this territory, where a lot of MCU films had nevertheless been huge successes in the past. same for me Morbius and Venom 2 (while the first had picked up 269 million in China).
Note, however, that The Batman was released in China in 2022… to raise 25 million.
By the power of China!
COMPARISON IS NOT REASON, but a little anyway
Obviously, it is above all in the game of comparisons that black adam takes a real humiliation. Although the year 2022 is difficult for everyone, black adam is a far cry from the Superheroes of the Year winners.
Thor: Love and Thunder (760 million) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (955 million) from Marvel are far ahead at the global box office. To continue at Marvel, even The Eternals ($402 million) fares better, and even the lowest scores in the recent MCU (Black Widowwith 379 million) or past (Captain America370 million in 2011), are doing better. black adam hardly dominates Morbius (167 million, poor beast) and The Incredible Hulk (264 million in 2008).
When you try to fit in the whirlwind of numbers
But if we get out of the genre, it’s even worse, since the big winners of 2022 are light years away, with 1 billion for Jurassic World: The World After and an ubiquitous 1.4 billion for Top Gun: Maverick (especially since the latter only cost $170 million to produce).
The worst is yet to come, since if we compare the DCEU to the DCEU and to DC in general, it’s still a cold shower. let’s remember that Aquaman had raised $1.1 billion, and that the much maligned man of steel and Batman v. Superman had collected 668 and 873 million dollars.
More recently, in the “same” stable, The Batman grossed no less than $770 million. Same Justice League earned twice as much as black adam with $658 million, while the infamous Suicide Squad first of the name had made 746 million dollars. Stay The Suicide Squada real financial disaster with 168 million, largely due to a simultaneous exit strategy that has since been forgotten.
No need to look down on us, you’re at the bottom of the rankings
However, the most telling comparisons are probably to be made with Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Story of Harley Quinn and Shazam!. Harley Quinn’s single-player adventure is widely (somewhat wrongly) considered a failure of the DCEU. But if it was indeed well planted in America and brought in a total of only 205 million dollars, it is to be related to a “small” production cost (between 80 and 100 million dollars, twice less than black adam).
As for Shazam!, it’s even worse. The nemesis of black adam, considered at the time as an ugly ducklinggrossed $365 million worldwide, slightly more than black adam at the time these lines are written. Except that Shazam! also cost half as much to produce.
In the game of ratios, you have to look for the mega crashes of The Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman 1984 (and again, the latter came out in the middle of a pandemic) so that black adam finally take over.
Let’s hope for the DC Universe that its new bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran truly manage to usher in a new era. When yesterday’s losers become today’s winners, it’s that the team is not doing welland Warner is on the verge of making us miss its Jérôme Rothen.
Upcoming DC meetings: Shazam 2 in March 2023, The Flash (don’t laugh) in June 2023, Blue Beetle in August 2023, and Aquaman 2 in December 2023. Without forgetting Joker: Madness for two in November 2024, and the long-awaited return of Henry Cavill as Superman in a still mysterious film.