'Black Adam,' starring Dwayne Johnson, debuts with $67 million

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'Black Adam,' starring Dwayne Johnson, debuts with $67 million

Warner Bros.' "Black Adam" opened with an estimated $67 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, handing Dwayne Johnson his biggest box-office weekend as a leading man and launching the D.C. Comics character he spent a decade to bring to the big screen.

 
"Black Adam" was a $200-million bid to upset the power balance in a DC Extended Universe dominated by the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. The $67 million debut fell well shy of that stratosphere, even with the considerable draw of Johnson acting in his first superhero movie. Still, "Black Adam" managed the highest opening weekend since "Thor: Love and Thunder" debuted with $143 million in July.
 
"Black Adam," which stars Johnson as an ancient Egyptian summoned to the modern day, was notably hobbled by poor reviews (40 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Moviegoers were kinder, giving the film a B+ CinemaScore. It collected $73 million internationally for a $140 million global haul.

 
"Black Adam" took a circuitous route to reach theaters. The character had originally been planned to launch as a villain in 2019's "Shazam!" before executives pivoted to give Black Adam a standalone feature. The goofier "Shazam!," which cost closer to $100 million to make, opened with $53.5 million in ticket sales and wound up an over-achieving success with $366 million worldwide.
 
The stakes were higher for "Black Adam," though. While promoting the film, Johnson hasn't been shy about his desire to follow up "Black Adam" with a showdown with Superman. But whether the receipts for "Black Adam" are enough to warrant that remains unclear. Under new leadership, Warner Bros. is overhauling its approach to DC Comics adaptations.
 
Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros., celebrated the results as a personal best for Johnson outside of the "Fast & Furious" films, and a PG-13 film with broad-based appeal that audiences responded to better than critics. Still, it's a time of transition for Warner Bros.' reorganizing DC unit as the studio seeks more Marvel-sized successes. Next on tap is "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" in March.
 
"It's all about making good movies. It's all about finding the right scripts," said Goldstein. "Our studio is definitely going through a major revamping of our production leadership and style and approach. I think that we'll be able to crack this nut. We're definitely focused in on doing that."

AP
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