Dwayne Johnson’s claims that Black Adam was a profitable enterprise has come under serious scrutiny from all corners, with the actor and producer even being accused of leaking falsified financial documents to the trades in order to convince the public that his long-gestating DCU debut ended up turning a profit after all.
At the end of the day, though, we’re talking about a $200 million comic book blockbuster failing to even reach $400 million at the global box office isn’t a great return, no matter how hard the leading man attempted to stave off comparisons to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in favor of focusing on Captain America: The First Avenger instead.
Just when you thought things couldn’t make for any more depressing reading, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water has debuted to an eye-popping $435 million through its first three days in theaters, meaning that the sequel nobody was asking for (at least depending on who you ask) has made more money in 72 hours than the world’s biggest movie star debuting in cinema’s most lucrative genre has managed to accrue in almost two months.
Obviously there’s an apples and oranges comparison in play, but given the discourse swirling around Black Adam, Johnson, James Gunn, and the DCU over the last couple of weeks, it’s a damning statistic well worth pointing out. Even if we narrow the focus to DC projects, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice netted $420 million in its worldwide debut frame, so it’s not as if we’re going out of our way to kick the hierarchy of power when its down.