After a three-month grind, theaters are primed and ready for the first all-audience tentpole since July in the form of Warner Bros. and DC’s Black Adam. It’s expected to drive the first $100 million-plus overall market weekend at the domestic box office since July 22-24 when Nope debuted.
The selling point here is plain and simple: Dwayne Johnson in his first live-action comic book role. That’s the hook for a character that few outside fandom have ever heard of, and for an IP universe that has seen mixed results critically and commercially over the last nine years.
Tracking has consistently pinpointed Black Adam north of Shazam!‘s $53.5 million debut back in April 2019, a worthy comp given that character’s mythological relationship to Johnson’s title anti-hero in source comics. Reviews are on par with where we expected they’d be after months of cautious social media sentiment following mixed trailer reactions, scoring 54 percent among 74 Rotten Tomatoes critics thus far.
Not unlike the two Venom films of Octobers 2019 and 2021, though, Black Adam is arguably made for general audiences more than it is for critics. That will be an important aspect to the film’s trajectory after an initial fan turnout on Thursday afternoon and evening.
Warner Bros. and DC aren’t likely to be chasing all-time October history here, but the fifth highest opener ever for the month is currently WB’s own Gravity ($55.8 million in 2013). Fourth place belongs to 2018’s Halloween ($76.2 million), while Joker and the two Venom pics own the top three spots.
Notably, though, Johnson himself *is* chasing history. The charismatic, multi-threat entertainer’s best domestic box office start as a lead actor to date is 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw with $60.0 million in August of that year.
Worth mentioning, without spoiling, is that online chatter of a major DC cameo has been the subject of fan speculation for many months. Whether or not that moves the needle at all for Black Adam‘s opening remains to be seen.
Globally, the film is bowing in 76 markets and could net $125 million or more with domestic results included over the weekend.
Domestic previews begin at 3pm on Thursday with a full layout of premium screens including IMAX, Dolby, 4DX, and more.
In a classic counter-programming move, Universal offers up a traditional romantic comedy driven by star power in the shape of Ticket to Paradise. Julia Roberts and George Clooney are going to skew appeal for this one decisively over the 35-plus age demographic as a date night movie for adults, with women as the main drivers.
The film has already become an international success with $72.6 million from 75 markets outside North America as part of a staggered release, comparing well against The Lost City in some countries.
Ticket didn’t have to face a big release like Black Adam on the same weekend overseas, so a more muted debut in North America could safely be expected before a leggy run that may carry the pic well into November.
Previews for Ticket to Paradise begin at 5pm Thursday.
Holdover-wise, Halloween Ends looks to drop precipitously as the front-loaded nature of that franchise, mixed audience reception, streaming availability, and a loss of premium screens will undercut initial staying power. Smile should begin to balance out again, though, as it enjoys its hit sleeper run.
On the specialty front, Tár will expand from 36 locations last weekend to a projected 500-plus based on Showtimes Dashboard data, while Till may be aiming for over 100 locations. Neither count had been confirmed by their respective studios at the time of this report.
Opening Range: $58 – 68 million
Ticket to Paradise
Opening Range: $10 – 15 million
Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections
Current projection ranges call for a 44 to 59 percent increase from last weekend’s $72.7 million top ten aggregate.
Note: Forecasts for Tar and Till we’re mistakenly included in the original table with incorrect location projections.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 23||Location Count Projection (as of Wed)||3-Day % Change from Last Wknd|
|Black Adam||Warner Bros. Pictures||$63,000,000||$63,000,000||~4,400||NEW|
|Ticket to Paradise||Universal Pictures||$12,800,000||$12,800,000||~3,500||NEW|
|Halloween Ends||Universal Pictures||$9,900,000||$56,200,000||~3,901||-75%|
|Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||Sony / Columbia Pictures||$5,600,000||$30,400,000||~3,900||-24%|
|The Woman King||Sony Pictures||$2,400,000||$63,500,000||~2,000||-35%|
|Amsterdam||Disney / 20th Century Studios||$1,100,000||$14,100,000||~2,000||-60%|
|Don’t Worry Darling||Warner Bros. Pictures||$900,000||$44,400,000||~1,300||-60%|
|Terrifier 2||Cinedigm Entertainment Group||$900,000||$3,800,000||~850||-13%|
*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are unofficial projections if presented with “~”.
The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.
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