$387m-grossing Black Adam apparently hasn’t broken even

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam
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Dwayne Johnson helped power Black Adam to nearly $400m of box office takings – but it seems it’s come up some $200m short.

We don’t traditionally run stories on this site about movies making losses or forcing corporate write downs, but an exception’s being made here as it’s a story of just high how the bar is for some blockbusters to get into the green.

The film in question here is Black Adam, the apparently rather successful DC Comics movie adaption, that landed in cinemas in October. Headlined by Dwayne Johnson, the movie wasn’t cheap – some $195m to make – but it’s sat at the top of the box office, off the back of not great reviews. And its current global haul from its cinema run is just shy of $400m.

However, a report from Variety suggests that’s the film is some way away from breaking even for Warner Bros Discovery.

The bar for a theatrical release profit does tend to be high. By the time cinemas have taken their cut, distribution and marketing costs have been taken off and studio accounting has had a bite, for big films the measure tends to be three times the production budget. That’s said to be the case with Black Adam, which reportedly required around $600m in cinemas to break even. Black Adam will be falling some $200m short of that.

But just to stop us all heading off to the violin shop, the film will of course eventually break even for the studio, which is reportedly considering a sequel (although apparently Johnson is more keen than Warner Bros Discovery). Streaming, home entertainment releases, planes, hotels… they all bring money into the Warner Bros Discovery coffers.

So the studio won’t be cancelling its Christmas party just yet. But still, in blockbuster cinema – and in superhero cinema in particular, it seems – the stakes are very much on the high side…

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