‘Black Adam’ retains lead in box office race

Warner Bros.’ superhero film Black Adam held onto the top spot in North American theaters on a sleepy weekend, taking in an estimated $18.5 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

Dwayne Johnson, the star of superhero film ‘Black Adam,’ greets fans at an event October 13 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Dwayne Johnson vehicle, a spinoff from 2019’s “Shazam!,” has now grossed $182 million internationally.

But its box-office dominance is not expected to survive the arrival next weekend of Marvel and Disney’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The release of that highly anticipated sequel will help return Hollywood “to world-class form,” said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

In second place for the weekend was Crunchyroll’s anime movie One Piece Film: Red, at $9.5 million. The film, drawing warm response from fans of the long-running manga series, is already the ninth highest-grossing release ever in Japan, Variety reported.

Universal’s rom-com Ticket to Paradise came in third, earning $8.5 million, behind the proven chemistry of stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney. It has earned $85 million abroad.

In fourth was Paramount’s horror movie Smile, at $4 million, still drawing viewers even after the Halloween holiday. Originally set for streaming-only release, it is now barely $1 million shy of the $100 million mark domestically.

And in fifth was supernatural horror film Prey for the Devil from Lionsgate, at $3.9 million. Jacqueline Byers plays a nun trained in exorcism who, with the help of a certain Father Dante, battles demonic forces.

Overall, the box office remains well below its pre-pandemic levels—down 33.8 percent so far this year compared to 2019, according to Gross.

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