Black Adam Suffers from Worst DCEU Performance Ever In Final Market Opening

By David Thompson Posted:
Black Adam DCU

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's DC origin movie Black Adam is generating little interest and performing historically poorly in its final theatrical market.

The newly re-dubbed DCU (previously DCEU) released its latest installment near the end of October. Many critics and fans were less than impressed with the simple plot and messy world-building within the current DC universe.

In a move filled with hope, Warner Bros. hired director James Gunn and producer Peter Safran to effectively lead the future of DC Studios (previously DC Films).

In an effort to generate hype for the film, Johnson was open about the film's post-credits scene, which features a return by Henry Cavill as Superman.

Despite the buzz-word filled headlines leading into its release, the film hasn't been a massive success and just disappointed in another international market.

Black Adam Box Office Struggles in Japan

Black Adam, DC Justice League

Black Adam opened to a mere $452 thousand at the Japanese box office on Friday. That is the lowest opening-day total for a DC Films theatrical release in Japan (2019's Shazam! opened at $480 thousand in the same market).

According to IMDB, this is Black Adam's final market to be released theatrically.

Since its release on October 21, Black Adam grossed $378.3 million worldwide. $163.4 million of its earnings have come in North America, which is $17.9 million less than Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned in the same market during its three-day opening weekend. Wakanda Forever grossed $374.3 million domestically since its November 11 release.

As one of Warner Bros. Discovery's marquee superhero releases, Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam hasn't lived up to the competition. 

Another DC property, The Batman, grossed $767.6 million at the global box office, making it the second-highest-earning comic-book movie of 2022. The lead spot is currently held by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with $955.8 million globally.

Was Black Adam a Financial Failure?

As the film is now available for digital purchase in the U.S., its domestic box office run has essentially come to an end. 

This is the DCU's seventh-highest-earning film at the domestic box office, beating out films like Shazam! and Birds of Prey

Black Adam had an estimated production budget of around $200 million. Considering its nearly $400 million global earnings, even when factoring in marketing costs (typically half of the production cost), the Rock's first DC film is likely profitable for the studio.

Profitability is the main reason so much money is poured into these giant, blockbuster films by the largest studios. Marvel Studios' unprecedented monetary success over the last decade has set a gold standard for consistent big-budget projects that turn a (usually significant) profit. 

There's a higher risk in projects that soar over a $200 million budget, but the reward can be well worth it for studios, especially those that are losing money month after month on streaming.

Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam character may be a returning player in whatever long-term game Gunn and Safran are creating. Black Adam wasn't a disaster; it's not overtly hated or controversial, it simply existed, squeaked out a profit, and kept the ship afloat heading into 2023.

Black Adam is now available to purchase digitally and still playing in theaters worldwide.

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.