Finally! A movie coming to theaters that should unite us all and bring in some solid box office dollars. But enough about the George Clooney/ Julia Roberts Rom-Com Ticket To Paradise, there is also a big tent pole sized comic book film hitting screens this weekend by way of Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam.
Dwayne Johnson’s first stab at comic book immortality will easily grab the top spot this weekend, the only question is how high, or low, will it go. Right now tracking has this opening between $65 and $70 million. To play it safe, I can’t really argue with those numbers. This is the first major big screen action film to be released since Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train or if we are really being honest, since Thor: Love and Thunder dropped all the way back on July 8. That type of anticipation for a movie that demands the big screen experience will drive Black Adam to open near the $70 million mark, and in doing so become Dwayne Johnson’s highest grossing opening ever after his cameo as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (although if we want to be technical, he was billed as The Rock in that film! He would need to top the $60 million take of Hobbs & Shaw if he wants to best his Dwayne Johnson headlining top opening film.)
Honestly, the desire to get back to a movie theater with something that was made for the big screen may be the biggest thing going for Black Adam. As I feared when I first saw the trailer, reviews are pouring in (including one from our own Chris Bumbray) that are saying this movie is just another in a long line of disappointing comic book films that does nothing at all to discern itself from all of the other run of the mill comic book origin stories. On paper, the character sounds like a super interesting character that if handled right could be a great entry into Warner Bro’s recent R rated take on the world of DC villains, the way Todd Phillips handled Joker. But, as the trailers hinted at and these early reviews indicate, the character seems to have been watered down to appease the masses. Even editing the film 4 times just to get it down to a PG13. The good news is that the reviews seem to be united in saying that Dwayne Johnson shines in the the role they say he was born to play and the action set pieces are truly spectacular.
Going the old school “counter programming” route this weekend is the Universal Studios Romantic Comedy Ticket To Paradise which pairs two of the biggest stars of our generation. The film is already a massive hit overseas with nearly $80 million and there is no reason to think it won’t clean up stateside either. The closest comp for this title is the recent Sandra Bullock/ Channing Tatum (and Brad Pitt and Daniel Radcliffe) film The Lost City which was a massive success earlier this year opening to over $30 million on its way to a very healthy $190.8 million worldwide total. Of course that film’s biggest competition was the 4th weekend of The Batman, so I don’t quite see those numbers for this one, but a $20 million opening is not out of the realm of possibility. But if I am going to rely on reviews for Black Adam, I must do the same for Ticket To Paradise, and so far the reviews are middle of the road. The consensus seems to be that if you are looking for a new take on the tried and true romantic comedy formula, this isn’t the movie for you, but if you are looking for a good time in the theaters with two likable stars, you will enjoy this one.
This weekend will also be the test to see if the truly divisive nature of Halloween Ends kills the films momentum at the theaters. Horror films tend to have significant week 2 drop offs with the first Halloween dropping nearly 60% while Halloween Kills dropped over 70%. I think this one, with its bad word of mouth and availability at home, will fare worse than both of those and have a drop off in the 75% range giving it around a $10 million weekend. It will be a photo finish between Halloween Ends and the surprise horror hit Smile this weekend, but I do think Smile will pull off the upset and beat Ends by a few hundred thousand dollars.
Rounding out the top should be the singing crocodile with another relatively small drop as it continues to draw in the family crowds. While the independent market could make its way into the top ten this week with the expansions of Till and Tár which sounds like a Children’s book and not two of the best reviewed movies of the year that are receiving significant Oscar buzz.
Will you be heading out to theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you plan on seeing in the comments section and don’t forget to check back on Saturday when we give a brief update of the box office numbers.
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS