The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe isn’t looking like it’s changing or even being nudged by Black Adam. The film is a loser for Warner Bros. theatrically that is poised to cost them tens or possibly hundreds of millions in cold hard cash once its theatrical run finishes. Star Dwayne Johnson, however, isn’t sweating the heat.
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This revelation comes to us from Variety which reports Black Adam is estimated to lose between $50 million and $100 million if not more. The film had a price tag of $195 million with a nearly equal marketing cost of $100M. Grossing $384.6M worldwide so far, without a Chinese release, it has yet to break even.
The amount to break even was set at $600M but the superhero actioner is expected to make only around $400M when all is said and done. It will continue to face stiff competition this holiday season from Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and is already available on digital, so the battle is steeply uphill.
Warner is standing by their picture, according to Variety’s sources at the company, and disputes the bleak numbers. The studio thinks Black Adam will break even – although they have to lower their expectations and declare breaking even at the $400M mark or $450M. They’ll have to rely on video-on-demand and home video sales which, at best, should bring in another $25-$35M.
All told, that won’t help the movie turn a profit by January but Johnson isn’t too worried and is actually looking on the bright side, touting his movie’s profit margins. He claims on Twitter the “fact” Black Adam will pocket $52- $72M and that it is building a franchise. “Waited to confirm with financiers before I shared this excellent #BlackAdam news,” he began.
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“[Our] film will PROFIT between $52M-$72M. Fact. At almost $400M worldwide we are building our new franchise step by step (first Captain America did $370M) for the DC future,” The Rock’s tweet continued. He also linked to a Deadline article that explains how it will profit. They say, “this movie is bound to break even and be in the black.”
Deadline’s finance experts cite the blockbuster’s three weeks at no. 1 in a “dry fall marketplace without any tentpoles.” The $67M opening in week one was also “Johnson’s biggest solo opening stateside,” and it looks to pick up more cash in paid VOD sales while still in theaters. They add to that undisclosed merchandise movement and an incoming landing on HBO Max.
A positive spin is put on Black Adam’s daunting marketing budget which was actually leaner than that of Hobbs & Shaw’s $140M. Much of the emphasis was placed on digital and social media exposure spearheaded by The Rock himself which is still going on as the transition to streaming and home release is getting into gear. Moreover, Deadline predicts a surplus regardless of spending.
“The swing factor in the net profit here on Black Adam: Warners contends that it spent $80M on global P&A, which would get the pic to a $72M surplus, whereas the $100M contended by other sources lands the pic at a $52M profit,” they say. Deadline’s number crunching, therefore, finds the film is not a failure by multiple measures.
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They reached out to producer and financier Joe Singer, “who deals greatly in motion picture slate financing,” and he said, “I have read the claims that Black Adam will lose money. That is false. The picture may be considered disappointing since it had Dwayne Johnson in a DC film. However, the picture will pass break-even and throw off a bit of profit.”
Additionally, there wouldn’t be talk of spinoffs and a sequel for nothing, so The Rock has reasons to smell success. The only dark cloud is the plan James Gunn and Peter Safran have for DC not working in tandem with his. A lack of cohesion between parties puts Black Adam’s future in jeopardy no matter what the numbers say.
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