Dwayne Johnson

By Tribune Staff

NASHVILLE, TN — Dwayne Johnson’s entry into the superhero film world has exceeded expectations, at least for its first week. “Black Adam,” a superhero adventure starring Johnson as a villain who promises to change the “hierarchy of power” in the DC universe, topped the box office charts with $67 million,

The Warner Bros. comic book movie was a big winner over Universal’s romantic comedy “Ticket to Paradise,” which landed in second place with a better-than-expected $16.3 million from 3,543 cinemas. “Black Adam,” heading into the weekend, was projected to open to $62 million while playing in 4,350 theaters, but ticket sales were stronger than anticipated on Saturday and Sunday, leading the studio to revise estimates. “As a spin-off, this is a strong opening,” said David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “‘Black Adam’ should do well abroad and be comfortably profitable.”

“Black Adam” is the sixth Warner Bros. film (out of six) this year to open in first place at the domestic box office, following “The Batman,” “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” “Elvis,” “DC League of Super-Pets” and “Don’t Worry Darling.”

And, in a win for movie theaters, “Black Adam” is the first film to open above $50 million since “Thor: Love and Thunder” in July. It’s also the first time the overall box office has collectively surpassed $100 million in one weekend since mid-July.

Thanks to the combined charm of Julia Roberts and George Clooney, “Ticket to Paradise” successfully served as counter-programming to “Black Adam.” “Ticket to Paradise” stands as one of the better starts for meet-cute stories this year, beating “Bros” ($4.8 million) and “Marry Me”($7.9 million, while landing simultaneously on Peacock).

It also adds to the movie’s stellar business overseas, where “Ticket to Paradise” has already generated $80 million. Now that it’s opened in North America, the film is nearing the $100 million mark, with ticket sales currently at $96 million globally.

“These are two of Hollywood’s biggest stars and they still have large followings overseas, where audiences are more loyal to celebrities than they are in North America,” Gross added. “That’s where this movie is making very good money.”

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, last weekend’s champion “Halloween Ends” fell to fourth place with $8 million, a shocking 80 percent decline from its $41 million debut. It’s one of the worst week-to-week falls in recent history for a movie that opened in first. “Halloween Ends” withstood an even steeper drop than its predecessor, 2021’s “Halloween Kills,” which also debuted day-and-date on Peacock and plummeted 70 percent in its second weekend. That film tapped out with $92 million at the domestic box office.

Sony’s animated family film “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” rounded out the top five with $4.2 million from 3,536 venues over the weekend. After three weeks, it’s generated a lackluster $28.7 million in North America and $8.4 million internationally.

Several new releases succeeded at the indie box office, including Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin,” A24’s “Aftersun” and director Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave.”