Black Adam is a spin-off of Shazam!, and while the antihero title character and associated members of the Justice Society of America aren’t household names, the star of the film certainly is. This has been a passion project for Dwayne Johnsonwho plays and also produces Black Adam, and he’s been involved in the project longer than the DCEU even existed. Johnson Teams Up With Jungle Cruise Director Again Jaume Collet-Serra for the comic book movie, and he is joined on-screen by Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahic, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabonguiand Pierce Brosnan.
Black Adam opens this week in most of the world, although Japan is getting the film in December and China is still a question mark. As for DC movies, Shazam! is the best comp. The 2019 superhero film opened for $53 million and ended with $140 million domestically and $366 million worldwide. That would be a disappointment for Black Adamwhich cost $195 million to produce, but the dark-edged film follows higher ahead of its opening, with both pent-up demand for a big-effects film and Dwayne Johnson’s access to the world of superheroes likely to help. Shazam! won both critics (90% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (A CinemaScore), while the reception at Black Adam is mediocre so far (54% on Rotten Tomatoes). This shouldn’t hurt the opening, but it might hurt his chances of playing outside the believers. Be it a huge money-maker or not, at least it’s definitely the biggest opener since Thor: Love and Thunder over three months ago (no movie has opened more than $50 million since).
although Black Adam is the main event, some good counterprograms are offered with the romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise. This old-fashioned star vehicle has George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the lead roles, marking their fifth collaboration together. They play a divorced couple who decide to work together and go to Bali to prevent their daughter from marrying a boy she has just met. The director’s budgeted $60 million movie Ol Parker is unusual in today’s market, and things like this barely make it to the big screen, let alone on such a big budget. If so, it won’t set the box office on fire like it used to, but its star power and strong hook could attract the older crowd that has been largely absent from movie theaters lately.
While the budget makes it a risky gamble, the good news is that: Ticket to paradise has already earned $74.1 million internationally where it has seen the bulk of its rollout (gross was enough to make up the combined global total of the Clooney/Roberts collabs past the $1 billion mark, of which about 80% comes from Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve). It anticipates where The Lost City was at the same point in its release, and that movie currently holds the title of the biggest rom-com of the year with an international cume of $85.5 million. Ticket to paradise it should be soon enough, but to come The Lost City $105 million domestic cume is a different story. It should do about half The Lost City Opening at $30.5 million, so don’t expect this to be the new romcom champion of the year. Still, it should at least double the production budget, and could help get the ball rolling for an older audience to see more movies in the winter.
In addition to these broad releases, there are a few limited releases of interest. Fox Searchlight makes its debut Martin McDonagh’s latest The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. There’s also the country music documentary The Return of Tanya Tucker: with Sony Pictures Classics’ Brandi Carlile and A24’s British drama Aftersun.