Black Adam, Again: Another Flat Box-Office Weekend Before Wakanda Forever

“Black Adam” (Warner Bros. Discovery) took top spot this weekend for the third time with a gross of $18.5 million. That gets it to a domestic total of $137 million, a credible if not spectacular result for the DC entry with estimated pre-marketing budget of $200 million.

Groosses overall remained grim after nearly four months of famine that has seen total grosses fall under $100 million for 14 of the last 15 weekends. For context, in 2019, when ticket prices were around 80 percent of current levels, only four weekends fell short.

Give DC and WBD distribution credit: “Black Adam” joins “The Batman,” “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” and “Wonder Woman 1984” as the fourth film to have three consecutive #1 weekends over the last 24 months. (Marvel has only three.) That’s partially due to the lack of competition (certainly true this week), but it also shows a finesse in picking dates.

“One Piece Film: Red”

Courtesy of Crunchyroll

The pre-weekend guess had “Adam” and “One Piece Film: Red,” the latest Japanese anime from Crunchyroll, would battle it out for #1. The last two Crunchyroll entries this year opened to between $18 million-$21 million, suggesting $15 million might be possible. Instead, it grossed $9.5 million for second spot. Three years ago, that figure would seem impossible; it’s a disappointment only when compared to recent breakouts. In Japan, “One Piece” is currently the highest grossing film of 2o22.

As usual, the lack of new product helped the existing offerings. From a percentage standpoint, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” (Sony) did the best, actually rising 23 percent from last weekend despite an underwhelming performance. It’s also the sole family film in theaters and last weekend most kids were otherwise engaged in Halloween.

It’s tough to think of a Julia Roberts-George Clooney title being a sleeper, but these days any rom-com nearing $47 million in its third weekend is a surprise. “Ticket to Paradise” dropped only 14 percent. The hold raise an interesting dilemma for Universal, which normally would break this out as a PVOD release. The potential impact of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Disney) this week might tilt them in that direction.

“Smile” © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Smile” (Paramount) just missed reaching $100 million this weekend: This is a true sleeper. There are three other genre films in the Top Ten, but even though “Smile” is the oldest among them it has the best gross ($4 million, #4), the highest per-theater average, and the smallest fall. That’s some trifecta.

Still, here’s the reality: Theaters grossed $59 million this weekend. Yes, the quantity of studio films out there is a factor, but at this time of year an average week should be at least double that. This totals only 51 percent of the same weekend in 2019, 54 percent of last year. The running four-week average, a better gauge of performance, compared to three years ago is at 62 percent.

That changes next weekend with “Wakanda.” If it grosses $200 million or better, it will give the market the temporary appearance of normalcy — but until the pattern shifts from feast-or-famine, recovery will remain incomplete.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight) is the other new film in the top 10, coming in at #7 with $2 million (895 theaters) in its third-week expansion. It is standout among specialized releases that have opened slowly, with a total of $3 million so far. More on this and other specialized films this weekend in our separate report.

The Top 10

1. Black Adam (WBD) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$18,520,000 (-33%) in 3,985  theaters (-417); PTA (per theater average): $4,647; Cumulative: $137,366,000

2. One Piece Film: Red (Crunchyroll) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 65

$9,475,000 in 2,410 theaters; PTA: $4,003; Cumulative: $9,475,000

3. Ticket to Paradise (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$8,510,000 (-14%) in 3,692 (-374) theaters; PTA: $2,093; Cumulative: $46,734,000

4. Smile (Paramount) Week 6; Last weekend #4

$4,000,000 (-26%) in 3,221 (-167) theaters; PTA: $1,313; Cumulative: $99,107,000

5. Prey for the Devil (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$3,875,000 (-46%) in 2,980 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,300; Cumulative: $13,640,000

6. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$3,360,000 (+23%) in 3,005 (-130) theaters; PTA: $1,118; Cumulative: $36,567,000

7. The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight) Week 3; Last weekend #11

$2,001,000 (+274%) in 895 (+837) theaters; PTA: $2,236; Cumulative: $3,035,000

8. Till (United Artists) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$1,876,000 (-32%) in 2,136 (+78) theaters: PTA: $878; Cumulative: $6,583,000

9. Halloween Ends (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #5; also on Peacock

$1,400,000 (-66%) in 3,419 (-490) theaters; PTA: $478; Cumulative: $63,445,000

10. Terrifier 2 (Iconic) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$1,220,000 (-36%) in 1,245 (-305) theaters; PTA: $980; Cumulative: $9,859,000



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