If you’ve been anywhere near social media for the last week or so, then you’ll be keenly aware that a large number of longtime DCEU fans have hedged their bets on Black Adam kicking off a brand new era for the long-suffering franchise.
Star and producer Dwayne Johnson may have come under fire for referring to her long-awaited debut as “Phase One” of the shared superhero saga’s expansion plans, but Marvel Studios verbiage aside, the 50 year-old is saying and doing all the right things. That being said, what happens if the unthinkable nightmare comes true, and Black Adam bombs at the box office?
Comic book adaptations have largely proven to be bulletproof in spite of critical reactions, but the DCEU has tended to be wildly inconsistent when it comes to any sort of correlation between critical and commercial performance. Shazam!, Birds of Prey, and The Suicide Squad are the three top-rated blockbusters on Rotten Tomatoes not named Wonder Woman, but they also happen to rank as three of the franchise’s four lowest-grossing entries – with the pandemic-afflicted Wonder Woman 1984 the other.
Black Adam is tracking for only the seventh-highest opening weekend among the DCEU back catalogue, and it’s currently garnering the weakest critical response for any chapter in the ongoing series that isn’t an ensemble flick or a crossover, so you can understand why there’s some concerns beginning to arise among the fandom.
After all, The Rock wants to make Henry Cavill’s returning Superman a major player again, there’s that Shazam showdown on the cards, as well as Black Adam sequels, and spinoffs for either individual members of the Justice Society of America, or the team as a whole. The DCEU has already been through several major overhauls, but if its latest great hope doesn’t turn a profit, plans for the future could be thrown into chaos yet again.