UPDATE, Friday late afternoon: We are hearing from sources that Black Adam is set to make $25 million on Friday, which would easily be the best opening day for Dwayne Johnson among his solo projects. That list includes Hobbs & Shaw ($23.6M), Mummy Returns ($23.1M) Jumanji: Next Level ($19.7M) and San Andreas ($18.1M). Today’s $25M includes last night’s $7.6M in preview screenings.
A $25M first day currently puts the New Line/DC movie at a $60M start. Families could put this higher tomorrow; we’ll see. Hobbs & Shaw opened to $60M during the first weekend of August 2019. Black Adam is also 16% behind F9 ($29.9M), which got to a $70M opening. Triple note: Johnson didn’t star in F9, however, it’s being used as a comp. Black Adam is booked at 4,402 theaters.
Universal owns the second and third spots, respectively, during this domestic box office frame with the George Clooney-Julia Roberts rom-com Ticket to Paradise ($5.5M Friday, $13.7M opening at 3,543 theaters) and the second weekend of Halloween Ends ($2.7M Friday, off 87%, good for $8.7M at 3,901 theaters, -78%; running total $54.8M).
The fourth weekend of Paramount horror movie Smile is fourth at 3,296 theaters. Its Friday is at $2.7M, -30%, a three-day total of $8.9M, -29%, and a running total of $84.8M.
Sony’s third weekend of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at 3,536 theaters is seeing a Friday of $1.3M, -35%; a 3-day of $4.8M, -35%; and a running total of $29.3M.
PREVIOUSLY, Friday AM: The New Line-DC Dwayne Johnson movie Black Adam racked up $7.6 million in previews at 3,500 locations Thursday, a figure that beats the superstar’s previous preview nights for Fast and Furious 6 ($7.5M), Hobbs and Shaw ($5.8M), Jumanji: The Next Level ($4.7M), San Andreas ($3.1M) and Rampage ($2.4M). This is at least a very good start for Black Adam. Fans always come out on Thursday night; let’s hope it keeps up.
While critics aren’t fans at 43% Rotten, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is much better at 88%. Previews began yesterday at 3 p.m.
Other comps Black Adam is besting so far include F9 ($7.1M, which Johnson didn’t star in), Ant-Man ($6.4M), Shazam! ($5.9M) and No Time to Die ($5.6M). F9 opened to $70 million in May 2021, with the rest of those comps debuting in the $50M range.
The latest tracking for Black Adam is $60M-plus for its first frame, cooling down from its $70M number when it first arrived on tracking. The question remains how critic-proof this movie can be. In the new world order of box office at this stage of the pandemic, tentpoles have proved to be critic proof, i.e., Jurassic World Dominion wasn’t slowed by a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes and opened to $145M. There hasn’t been anything as glossy, star-studded and tentpole-y like Black Adam since Sony’s Bullet Train, which opened to $30M during the first weekend of August. Audiences are starving, and hopefully for the sake of exhibition and Warner Bros, won’t scrutinize this new DC superhero too severely before making a decision to go to the movies this weekend.
As is standard with Johnson, the overseas prospects for Black Adam are brighter than domestic; industry outlook for a global start this weekend is around $135M.
Johnson’s two highest preview nights were on films in which he was part of an ensemble: Furious 7 ($15.8M) and Fate of the Furious ($10.4M).
Universal meanwhile held previews for its George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, which made $1.1M at 3,000 theaters off showtimes that began at 5 p.m. The studio is hoping for around $12M. The film from Working Title, Smokehouse and Red Om Films has already bagged close to $73M from 75 offshore markets, where it was No. 1 in 45 of those including Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK.
Universal had the No. 1 movie of the week with Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween Ends, also available on Peacock, which did $46.1M at 3,901 theaters. Pic is expected to decline severely due to its avail on the streamer, in the 70% range. It made $1.02M on Thursday, and was beat by Paramount’s Smile which did $1.07M at 3,612. That genre movie in its third week did $17.2M, good for a running total of $76M.
Sony’s second week of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at 4,350 did $430,000 on Thursday, $9.1M for the week and has a running total of $24.6M.
The studio’s TriStar label owned fourth with The Woman King at 2,565 theaters, a $240K Thursday, $4.9M fifth week and running cume of $61M.
Iconic Releasing’s Terrifier 2 in 700 sites did $220K yesterday, a $1.9M second week and running total of $3.4M.