The movie ‘Black Adam’ will generate a millionaire loss for the Warner Bros studio. Financial estimates indicate that the feature film starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should not yield more than US$ 400 million at the box office, falling short of what is necessary to pay its production and promotion costs.
The budget of ‘Black Adam’ was US$ 195 million, a very high amount that demands a great return at the box office. To maximize the release, Warner still invested between US$ 80 and US$ 100 million in marketing, which, however, only increased the pressure for the film’s success.
As a result of all that investment, the film would need to bring in at least $600 million at the box office to break even the costs – as theater owners keep half of the profit from ticket sales and there are still taxes.
But ‘Black Adam’ is almost ending its theatrical run, which should generate a loss of US$ 50 or US$ 100 million, according to expert estimates.
Still, sources at Warner Bros. dispute those numbers, saying the film will pay for itself when it reaches the $400 million mark at the box office.
Warner explains that, when the film was ordered, it was believed that the break-even point (that is, the amount needed for the film to pay for itself) was $ 450 million at the box office, but that number has dropped due to the particularities of the new home entertainment scene, where ‘Black Adam’ surpassed projections. That is, it performed well on the VOD (digital rental) release.
The studio also argues that ancillary revenue streams have become more lucrative with shorter theatrical release windows. Thanks to pandemic-era concessions, films arrive on home entertainment platforms in 33 days instead of 75, which reduces the money needed to revive marketing campaigns for a digital release.
With secondary revenue, sources at Warner Bros. the film is said to be about to break out of the red.
Even if that’s true, ‘Black Adam’ hasn’t turned out to be the blockbuster DC hoped it would be when it first conceived in 2019. The theatrical run may only be one component of revenue, but it’s undeniable that box office returns are the biggest elements. profitability of a production of this size.
And even with VOD sales, which could fetch between $25 and $35 million more, “Black Adam” will still be in the red when it arrives for free to HBO Max subscribers – however much Warner claims otherwise. .
It’s worth remembering that most movies lose money during their theatrical release and rely on rents, sales, and spin-offs to eventually turn a profit. There is also non-monetary value in establishing new cinematic intellectual property that is not always reflected on this balance sheet.
Recently, other films such as ‘Weird World’, ‘Lightyear’, ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Moonfall’ also burned big budgets that were not recovered at the box office.
Even with the decrease in cases of covid and the gradual recovery of the habit of going to the cinema, the film sector is still struggling to recover. And that’s been a big problem for mega-budget movies that depend on massive audiences.
‘Black Adam’ hit theaters in late October and made $67 million in its debut, a solid but unspectacular take for a comic book movie. But unlike other DC Universe movies like ‘Aquaman’ (which opened to $67.8 million) and ‘Shazam!’ ($53.5 million), the film lacked the quality to justify its budget.
Met with mixed reviews (and a 43% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), ‘Black Adam’ lacked word of mouth and struggled to expand its appeal beyond comic book fans. So far, the film has generated $165 million in North America and $219 million internationally.
Like most Hollywood films, the overseas box office was limited because they were blocked from showing in China or Russia, two big markets.
By comparison, ‘Aquaman’ managed to gross a sizable $335 million in North America. And in the case of ‘Shazam’, although the movie ended its run with $140 million domestically, it cost $100 million to make – about half of the budget of ‘Black Adam’.
Other pandemic-era DC properties include “Wonder Woman 1984,” which grossed $164 million while simultaneously debuting on HBO Max, “The Suicide Squad,” which generated $165 million (also arriving the same day on HBO Max), and ‘The Batman’ with an incredible gross of $770 million.
And although ‘Black Adam’ managed to hold the top spot at the box office for three weeks – thanks in part to a lack of other big titles – ticket sales dropped 60% in its second weekend. And when ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever After’ opened on Nov. 11, the film quickly shot to the top of the box office, earning $140 million in its opening — and $331 million in three days.
On the occasion, Johnson celebrated the results of the competing film. “Always rooting for our business to win,” he wrote on his Twitter. “We all benefit overall when the box office booms.”
‘Black Adam’ is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (‘No Scales’) and will show the protagonist facing the group of heroes known as the Justice Society, formed by Aldis Hodge (‘The Invisible Man’) in the role of Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell (‘Catunas’) as Cyclone, Noah Centineo (‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’) as Atom Smasher and Pierce Brosnan (‘007 Die Another Day’) as Mr. Destiny.
The cast also highlights Sarah Shahi (‘Sex/Life’) as Adrianna Tomaz (civil identity of Mighty Isis) and Viola Davis, reprising her role as Amanda Waller, the unscrupulous leader of the Suicide Squad.
Johnson has already made it clear that he wants to star in a sequel to ‘Black Adam,’ but the film’s box office results don’t seem to warrant further investment.
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