Black Adam's Poor Test Screenings Made Movie 'Inordinately Expensive' (Report)

By David Thompson Updated:
Black Adam Budget The Rock

Black Adam's production costs grew a whopping $70 million due to extensive re-shoots following poor test screenings.

Earlier in December 2022, as Black Adam's box office run approached its end, it was reported by Variety that the film may lose the studio anywhere from $50 million to $100 million. Soon after, Deadline published a completely contradictory article on the film's profitability, stating that it could make the studio $52 million to $72 million.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson initially reposted the Deadline report and defended Black Adam's ability to turn a profit for Warner Bros. Discovery. However, since James Gunn announced that Henry Cavill would not be the Superman of the future DCU, a lot has changed.

The latest public announcement from Johnson has been far less defensive; in fact, this new statement sounded final. The superstar actor confirmed that Black Adam won't be in the "first chapter of storytelling" of Gunn's new DCU.

On top of that, a new update on Black Adam's unfortunate financial situation may be another factor in why Johnson isn't a part of DC's future plans.

Black Adam's Unnecessary Budget

Black Adam Dwayne Johnson

In a recent report by The Hollywood Reporter, it was revealed that Black Adam's approved $190 million budget expanded to $260 million after 20 days of reshoots.

The reshoots were deemed necessary after the initial cut of the film performed poorly with audiences during test screenings.

This "inordinately expensive" 36% increase makes Black Adam the third-most expensive DC film of all time - an unfortunate reality when considering the movie has only made $391 million at the worldwide box office.

After factoring in marketing costs, it's likely that the film will ultimately lose the studio money. 

DC Moving Past Black Adam

Now that it has come and gone, it's clear that The Rock was always the main driving force in making a Black Adam solo movie. But unfortunately, the passion project did not produce as much as the actor or the studio had hoped.

Given some perspective, DC's latest release came out at a really strange time. 10 days after it started playing in theaters, James Gunn and Peter Safran began their new jobs as co-CEOs of DC Studios.

As they work to reshape the future of DC films, Black Adam felt stuck in the past. Including the bizarre marketing decision by Johnson to speak openly about Henry Cavill's post-credit science before the film was even in theaters.

This THR report puts the proverbial nail in Black Adam's coffin. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this film will likely be remembered as a remnant of the old Zack Snyder era at DC Films.

Soon, a new era will begin under the guidance of Gunn and Safran, likely starting with a new-look Superman film.

Black Adam is currently available to stream on HBO Max.

- 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.