Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam flew to $26.8 million at the Friday box office — including $7.6 million in Thursday previews for a projected $60 million-plus opening. Some think it could clear $64 million depending upon whether families show up in force.
While $60 million-plus would be among Johnson’s biggest box office debuts in a leading role, it’s a relatively modest start for a superhero pic. At the same time, his films are known to have especially strong multiples (which it will need to cover a production budget in the $195 million to $200 million range, including reshoots).
The big-budget New Line/Warner Bros. title is playing in 4,350 cinemas domestically, including Imax and premium large format screens. Critics are mixed as to the movie, while audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore and good exit scores. Males purchased 64 percent of all Friday tickets sold.
In terms of past Johnson movies, Hobbs & Shaw opened to a $60 million launch domestically.
In the superhero realm, Thursday previews for Black Adam were ahead of Ant-Man ($6.5 million), which debuted to $57 million in 2015, and Shazam! ($5.9 million), which debuted to $53.5 million in 2019.
Black Adam reunites Johnson with his Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra and features a team of heroes new to the DC films: the Justice Society of America. That includes Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan). As for Johnson, he plays Black Adam — an antihero imbued with ancient power.
It couldn’t be a starrier weekend. The other wide release is Universal’s romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. The movie earned a better-than-expected $6.4 million on Friday for a better-than-expected opening weekend of $16 million-plus from 3,543 locations. Friday’s haul included $1.1 million in previews.
Adults in the U.S. have been a tough demo to lure to the multiplex, but Ticket to Paradise is succeeding in convincing them to do so. Females made up the vast majority of Friday ticket buyers (71 percent), while 61 percent of the audience was over the age of 35, including 44 percent over 45.
Ticket to Paradise should finish the weekend with roughly $96 million in global ticket sales after earning a noteworthy $80 million overseas (that includes sales this weekend).
At the specialty box office, awards hopeful The Banshees of Inisherin, from Searchlight, is looking at a strong per location average of $44,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
Oct. 22, 8:45 a.m. Updated with Friday grosses and weekend estimates.
This story originally appeared on HollywoodReporter