Oct 21, 2022 - Economy & Business

All eyes on "Black Adam" at the box office

Group dressed as members of the “Shazam Family” at the New York Comic Con, October 8

Group dressed as members of the “Shazam Family” at the New York Comic Con, October 8. Credit: Javier E. David

All eyes are on “Black Adam,” the DC Comics-inspired vehicle starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular antihero, which officially opens in theaters today.

Why it matters: The stakes couldn’t be higher for Warner/Discovery, which has alienated legions of DC fans by canceling and postponing several high-profile projects. Observers are watching to see if Johnson's star power can revive the fortunes of Warner/Discovery's embattled DC franchises.

  • “Black Adam” is expected to be the media giant’s last big theatrical release of the year, before it turns the page on a rocky 2022.
  • The movie is a test of Warner’s ability to draw in die-hard DC boosters, and the uninitiated that know nothing about the character.
  • It will open exclusively in theaters, with no official streaming date announced.

The intrigue: Current projections expect the movie to pull in something north of $60 million this weekend, Deadline reported, but that’s below other major tentpoles.

  • Although Thursday night previews saw “Black Adam” pull in a solid $7.6 million, the movie will need to be “critic-proof.”
  • Over at Rotten Tomatoes, a split is brewing between hard-nosed critics (a weak 43% approval rating based on over 150 reviews), and fans who give it a far more generous 88% “Fresh” rating).

What they’re saying: Some of the more unforgiving reviewers use words like “humdrum,” “clumsy,” and “brainless” (ouch). Still, the comparatively higher audience scores may yet give “Black Adam” an unexpected box office boost.

  • Yet The Bulwark’s Sonny Bunch (known as a contrarian voice among movie aficionados), wrote on Friday that he “quite enjoyed [“Black Adam’s”] very specific brand of sadism.” So there’s that.
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