The titular anti-hero Black Adam is portrayed by Dwayne Johnson, and the foray of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars into the world of superheroes turned out to be a fruitful one, giving him the biggest opening of his career for a live-action film where he is front and center rather than in an ensemble. In other words, it is his best opening outside of The Mummy Returns ($68.1 million) and the Fast & Furious series, though it did open better than Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw ($60 million). The opening came in well ahead of the DC filmShazam! ($53.5 million), which Black Adam is a spinoff from, and around the same as Aquaman ($67.9 million).
All of this is great news for exhibitors who have lacked big blockbusters since summer ended, and pretty good news for the film, though the jury is still out on whether it performs well enough to justify the steep $195 million budget. So far so good, though, and it is seeing solid overseas numbers as well, bringing in $73 million from 67 markets which is 27% ahead of Shazam! when comparing like-for-likes at today’s rates (note that Shazam! grossed $366 million worldwide, though $43.8 million of that was from China where Black Adam’s release remains uncertain). The global cume after one weekend is $140 million. The B+ CinemaScore shows that audiences like the film much more than critics (40% on Rotten Tomatoes), and the 90% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes is the best in the DCEU, so it doesn’t look like it will sink after its opening.
The weekend’s other openerTicket to Paradise is looking to be a solid slice of counterprogramming. The George Clooney-Julia Roberts-starring rom-com opened in second place to $16.3 million, showing that there’s still a market for the genre and that older audiences will show up with the right content (64% of ticket buyers for this one were above the age of 35). It will have to show some long legs if it is to have a solid domestic cume given its $60 million budget, but there’s not much pressure on the domestic release. Ticket to Paradise came out in September and early October in most of the world, and it had already racked up around $75 million abroad before it released in its home territory. The global cume now stands at $96.6 million, so it is well positioned to make a profit whatever happens from here. Still, this is another film that audiences liked more than critics (A- CinemaScore compared to 55% on Rotten Tomatoes), so it may continue to play well with domestic audiences, even if it doesn’t have the same success as it is seeing abroad.
Third place went to horror hit Smile, which is maintaining its sensational run, dropping 34% for an $8.4 million weekend four. The cume is now $84.3 million domestic and $166 million abroad.
Remarkably, Smile came in ahead of last weekend’s championHalloween Ends. The series finale had a solid $40 million opening, but it cratered this weekend, coming in fourth place as it fell a whopping 80% to gross just $8 million. As bad as that sounds (and it is one of the biggest second weekend drops of all time), it has already grossed $82 million worldwide against a $30 million budget, and keep in mind it has also been available for streaming on Peacock.
Fifth place went to Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile with $4.2 million, down 43%. Not a bad hold, and last weekend’s 36% drop was very good, but the numbers are still too small to celebrate for the $50 million budgeted film, which has a cume of just $28.7 million after three weekends. It could still be saved abroad, though, as it rolls out bit by bit in the coming months. As of now it has opened in just 16 markets and grossed $8.4 million, but in markets such as Spain, Germany, and the U.K. it is doing much better than comps Clifford The Big Red Dog andDora and the Lost City of Gold, which both grossed around $60 million abroad. Don’t count this one out quite yet.
Also of note in the top ten is the indie slasher film Terrifier 2, which is defying the laws of box office gravity. The film came out two weeks ago via Iconic Events Releasing and grossed $805k from 770 screens, and it followed that up with a 28% bigger $955k second weekend despite shrinking by 70 screens. This weekend it added just 55 screens only to grow 84%, grossing an amazing $1.9 million this weekend for a seventh place finish, its highest ranking yet. The cume is now $5.3 million.
Most notable in the specialty box office is the opening of Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which grossed $181k from four theaters, nabbing the year’s second best per-theater average with $45k. The Searchlight film, which stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, will expand to a dozen or so theaters next weekend and 600-800 the following weekend.