Black Adam makes US$67 million in strong debut for DC franchise

Black Adam, a film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, overcame critics' unfavourable reviews to top the North American box office this weekend.

The movie, produced by the DC Films and New Line Cinema labels at Warner Bros Discovery, generated US$67 million in US and Canadian ticket sales, researcher Comscore said on Sunday (Oct 23). That was near the top of the range of US$58 million to US$68 million forecast by Boxoffice Pro.

Ticket to Paradise, a romantic comedy from Universal Pictures starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, came in second place in its opening weekend with an estimated US$16.3 million in ticket sales.

Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, is the first live-action DC film since the closing of a merger in April to form Warner Bros Discovery.

The performance eases concern about reported setbacks faced by the comics subsidiary in recent months, including the cancellation of the Batgirl film, talks to appoint filmmaker Dan Lin as DC chief falling apart, and Ezra Miller, the lead actor in the upcoming superhero movie The Flash, facing potential prison time on burglary and larceny charges (Miller has pleaded not guilty).

Warner Bros Discovery chief executive officer David Zaslav has said he is seeking to house all of DC's assets in a single division with a 10-year plan that will intertwine characters and storylines to mirror the success of rival Walt Disney's Marvel franchise. He is currently searching for a new head of DC.

The opening performance was the 11th-best for a DC Comics film and second-best for the franchise in 2022, after The Batman. It has received poor reviews, holding a 40 per cent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The picture represents a continuation of Hollywood's attempts to find more diverse superheroes after largely focusing on white ones. Johnson plays a former Egyptian slave called Teth Adam who becomes a god.

Black Panther, the first big-budget Marvel film to feature a largely black cast, took in a much higher than expected US$1.35 billion in 2018. Its sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, comes out Nov 11. BLOOMBERG

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