Who says movie stars don’t matter in Hollywood?
Theaters and box offices got a much-needed boost this weekend thanks to superhero action film “Black Adam” and romantic comedy “Ticket to Paradise” – two films led by big stars.
Let’s start with the winner of the weekend: “Black Adam.”
The Warner Bros. film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the powerful superhero took the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office with an estimated $67 million. That’s Johnson’s biggest domestic opening in a leadership role.
It is also a much-needed win for the theatres, which have been parched due to the lack of blockbusters of late. The debut of “Black Adam” is the biggest opening at the box office since July’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.” (Warner Bros., like CNN, is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.)
With a budget of $195 million, the film comes at a time when the film, led by Johnson, is one of the most popular stars in Hollywood, with content and characters that are more bankable than big names. He has also starred in lucrative franchises such as Fast and Furious and Jumanji.
Coming in at number 2 is Universal Pictures’ “Ticket to Heaven.” Made for $60 million and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts at their daughter’s tropical wedding, the film brought in an estimated $16.3 million at the domestic box office.
Now, $16.3 million may not sound like the biggest total in the world, but it’s noteworthy that romantic comedies are a largely dead genre at the box office. In fact, Universal faced another romantic comedy called “Bros” a few weeks ago when it flopped at the box office.
“Bros” star Billy Eichner said after the film’s disappointing premiere that “straight people, especially in some parts of the country, weren’t into Bros,” the first gay rom-com. It will be produced and distributed by a major studio with a wide theatrical release.
That may be the reason, but the lack of any major stars in the film may also hurt, but “Ticket to Paradise” was directed by two of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood in the last 30 years.
The film has grossed $96.6 million worldwide so far, according to Universal.
Ultimately, movie stars may not make as much sense in Hollywood as they once did, but they can still help sell tickets, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore ( SCOR ).
“Star power is alive and well,” Dergarabedian told CNN Business. Real movie stars having recognized actors can lead to box office success.