Why Black Adam Was Dead On Arrival

Credit: Black Adam

So, Black Adam is officially a flop. The Dwayne Johnson-led feature only made $387 million globally, which means that the film couldn’t even stretch the total to $400 million. Ultimately, Black Adam will lose Warner Bros. Discovery anywhere between $50 – $100 million; That’s certainly not a good thing since the company has reported a recent net loss of $2.3 Billion. Black Adam had Dwayne Johnson, who’s pretty much a certified A-list movie star, so what happened? In truth, Black Adam was a popcorn movie at best. There’s nothing wrong with popcorn movies as films such as Jaws, Jurassic Park, and most of the Marvel films are considered popcorn affairs. However, the big differences are that these are original and excellent films. Black Adam is a been-there-done-that feature in a crowded landscape.

When you finish watching Black Adam, he’s no different than Superman or the dozens of other men in tights who happened to have powers. The aspect of a bad guy gone good is an interesting topic to explore, but the issue is that the filmmakers simply throw up their hands in the third act and say, “Well, it’s okay to kill as long as he’s an a**hole.” There’s never a moment where Black Adam feels any remorse for the people he’s murdered. Plus, there’s never that defining moment that changes him as a human being. However, that’s only part of the issue, as it’s clear that word of mouth just wasn’t that strong. In reality, Black Adam was dead even before it hit theaters. Say what you will about Dwayne Johnson, but he was marketing the hell out of this movie. However, the biggest problem is that Black Adam is an unknown name from another B-character, Shazam.

Credit: Black Adam

When you go over to Shazam!, the feature received high praise from both fans and critics (well, accept the lame headless superman cameo), but the DC picture only made $366.1 million worldwide. The only reason Shazam! isn’t considered a flop is due to the fact that its budget was only $100 million, thus it easily made double its production costs. Still, it’s pretty low for a superhero feature. Now, that doesn’t automatically mean that Black Adam was destined to be a flop. Guardians of the Galaxy was a ragtag band of virtual unknowns that featured a talking raccoon and tree! Worse yet, the Marvel film came out in August, which was considered a terrible placement for blockbusters to put their films; however, Guardians of the Galaxy looked fun, original, and special, and whether you liked or hated the film, the marketing campaign was certainly strong.

When you look at the trailers for Black Adam, it features all of the necessities required in a superhero film, but none of it stands out in a way that demands to be seen. As I previously stated, the film is pretty pedestrian in its approach to storytelling, and the trailers exposed that. Unfortunately, the campaign didn’t get any better once it was revealed that Henry Cavill was making his return to the DC universe. This move was clearly done to excite fans about the upcoming feature, and for a moment, it did. However, when news dropped that Cavill was only in the end credits scene of the film, many fans went back to not caring about Black Adam.

Credit: Black Adam

The feature needed a strong hook to push fans to go see it and one just simply wasn’t there. It didn’t help that it felt like another Dwayne Johnson action movie. When you pay attention to his performance, he doesn’t particularly differentiate himself from his other films. There’s no emotional depth or nuance to the character itself, and Johnson doesn’t look any different than before, which was a big mistake on his part. The superhero genre is suffering from fatigue at the moment, with Marvel and DC notably slipping in terms of financial returns. Black Adam just didn’t give people a reason to shell out any money, though it wouldn’t be shocking if a sequel was made. Still, hopefully, Johnson and the filmmakers learn from their mistakes in the first film.

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