The hype was real and it seemed that everyone was talking about Black Adam before its release, but as it has turned out, that was mostly marketing. After seven weeks in the cinema, Black Adam has only grossed $387 million USD globally which is likely a huge disappointment for DC Studios.
While during the pandemic, these numbers were respectable, this film cost $195 million to produce plus with the added $100 million is needed for global marketing purposes (generally speaking) it isn’t looking good for Dwayne Johnson’s anti-hero. Despite insiders at Warner Bros. telling Variety that due to COVID-related box office limitations, the marketing campaign was reduced to $80 million it still isn’t great.
Keeping this in mind, the film needed to earn a minimum of $600 million worldwide to break even, according to Variety’s report. Box office experts believe the film will peter out at just under $400 million. That would still be a profit if cinemas didn’t keep around half of those sales. As it stands, Black Adam stands to lose between $50 – 100 million in its theatrical run.
Warner Bros. themselves have disputed this and claim that the film will break even at $400 million. When the film was originally commissioned, the break-even figure was believed to be around $450 million. That figure was dropped due to the new streaming and home entertainment landscape where Black Adam has allegedly performed above expectations.
Sources at Warner Bros. say that the film will generate a profit since the film will hit streaming in 33 days after release rather than the usual 75 meaning that the cash needed for another marketing campaign is reduced with the original campaign still in people’s minds.
Regardless, Black Adam hasn’t been the smash hit DC were hoping for. Despite what Warner Bros. have said, even with premium-video-on-demand sales estimated to bring in $25 – 35 million, it still doesn’t seem likely the film will make a profit before it lands on streaming.
Other big-budget films have also struggled to turn a profit at the cinema including Pixar’s Lightyear, Disney’s Strange World, the star-studded Amsterdam, and Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall. It seems that even with COVID subsiding, audiences aren’t rushing back to the cinema and the people who did see Black Adam were just comic book fans. Perhaps the exclusion of China and Russia from the release played a part?
Compare the release of Black Adam to Marvel’s Black Panther 2. Black Adam held the number 1 spot for three weeks with a solid debut of $67 million, its ticket sales dropped by 60% in its second weekend. Black Panther 2 on the other hand has opened with a $140 million debut and earned $331 million in just three days. It took Black Adam four weeks to reach that. Granted, Marvel films have always been able to earn crazy amounts of money despite hurdles like the pandemic (just look at Spider-Man: No Way Home).
Black Adam was supposed to change a lot of things about DC’s cinematic universe and while it has successfully returned Henry Cavill as Superman, it doesn’t seem that Black Adam will likely even receive a sequel.