It’s official: ‘Black Adam’ deemed a bust by box office experts, could lose up to $100 million

Black Adam
Credit: Warner Bros

Black Adam’s name doesn’t necessarily reflect DC’s latest cinematic outing’s financials, with industry insiders doing a little bit of math and deducing that the film will be leaving its theatrical run in the red. 

The film’s production budget came in at a hefty $195 million and grossed $387 million in its seven-week run in cinemas. At face value, that’s a profit — sales are outweighing production costs. 

However, keep in mind that this is a gross figure – meaning cinemas are yet to take their cut, which in general, broad terms – is about half. With this in mind, and for argument’s sake, let’s say Black Adam netted $193.5 million. This already falls $1.5 million shy of the production budget.

However, Black Adam’s financial hole gets deeper. Sources familiar with the film’s financials say that there are more factors to consider beyond just the production budget and ticket sales which indicate a flop for Dwayne Johnson’s starring debut in the DC Universe.

For one thing, the production budget was not inclusive of the film’s marketing spend, which sources tell Variety came in at close to $100 million (though Warner Bros told the publication that the spend ended up being scaled back to $80 million). Assuming Black Adam either roughly broke even or suffered the aforementioned marginal loss, with the marketing spend factored in, Warner Bros. is looking at a financial hit roughly equalling its marketing spend. 

Black Adam can still earn back some of these losses with its life beyond theater on streaming services and digital/physical release, but it will be a fairly tough ask for the film to break even. Digital renting and purchasing of movies is in a steady decline in the age of the subscription streaming service, as is physical DVD and Blu-Ray purchasing. 

Let’s not forget that despite some consistent hyping of the film, it turned out to have a fairly lukewarm critical reception, sitting on a Rotten Tomatoes score of 39 percent. That said, audiences on the platform seemed to enjoy it more, with a score of 89 percent. 

We thought the film was solid, but certainly not anything particularly groundbreaking for the DC Universe or the superhero film genre more generally.