Since joining the Fast and Furious franchise in 2011, Dwayne Johnson has had a string of box office hits and become one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He’s appeared in hits such as San Andreas, Central Intelligence, Moana, Baywatch, Jumanji, Rampage, Skyscraper, and Jungle Cruise. All of these apart from Baywatch have been PG or PG-13 and The Rock has become king of the family friendly blockbuster.
Johnson knew he was taking a risk in pushing for the antihero Black Adam to become part of the DCEU, as it’s a darker subject matter and more violent, angry character than we’ve been used to seeing from The Rock for the last decade. And it looks like Black Adam is on course to be his first box office flop since he became a major Hollywood star.
While Warner Bros are disputing the figures, Black Adam had a production budget of nearly $200 million with an additional $100 million for marketing. Because the companies who own the movie theatre chains get to keep 50% of ticket sales, Black Adam didn’t need to make $300 million to break even, but $600 million. The movie has been out for seven weeks and only made $385 million, which is low for a modern day superhero movie.
Comparing Black Adam to other superhero movies from 2022, Dr Strange 2 made $955 million, Thor 3 made $760 million and Black Panther 2 – which has been out for less than a month – has already made $732 million. One comfort will be that Black Adam has at least made more than the disastrous Morbius.
It didn’t help that Black Adam did not fare well with critics, gaining a 39% “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes. Although this doesn’t always affect box office success, of course. Fantastic Beasts 3 and Uncharted both made over $400 million with similar Rotten Tomatoes ratings.