Dwayne Johnson Opens Up On Black Adam Failure, Explains DCEU & WB Turmoil

Summary

  • Dwayne Johnson cites Black Adam‘s financial failures as stemming from a change in leadership at DC Studios.
  • Johnson admits being confused by how the movie opened to his career-best at the box office while still not being enough to carry his time forward as the character.
  • Between its critical failings and the change in direction for the franchise, there are multiple reasons why Johnson’s Black Adam 2 can’t fit in James Gunn’s DC Universe plans.

Despite being touted as changing the hierarchy of the DC Extended Universe, Dwayne Johnson is opening up about what went wrong with Black Adam. Johnson made his long-awaited debut as the DC antihero with the 2022 movie chronicling his origins as the father of a Kahndaq slave boy granted the powers of Shazam, only to use them for vengeance and be imprisoned for thousands of years, eventually unleashed on the modern day. After spending nearly a decade in development, Black Adam hit theaters to poor reviews from critics and falling shy of its break-even point at the box office.

During a recent appearance on Kevin Hart’s Hart to Heart talk show, Dwayne Johnson was asked about Black Adam‘s failure at the box office and his future as the character. The actor/producer was candid in looking back on the DCEU movie, feeling it got caught up in “a vortex of new leadership” and indicating his time has come to an end as the antihero. See what Johnson shared in the quotes and video below:

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I think that Black Adam got caught in a vortex of new leadership. And at that time, as we were creating Black Adam, developing it, shooting Black Adam, we got knocked down a little bit because of COVID and the shutdowns, got back up. There were so many changes in leadership. And as you know, any time you have a company, but especially that size and magnitude, that’s a publicly traded company, and you have all those changes in leadership, you have people coming in who creatively, fiscally are going to make decisions that you may not agree with philosophically. That will always be one of the biggest mysteries. You have the biggest opening of your career. Sure, no China, which could’ve been maybe 100 or 200 million more dollars. You have a superhero and you want to grow out the franchise. You bring back Superman and Henry Cavill, which the world went crazy. And we created a diverse superhero portfolio, where we have just men and women of color in Black Adam. So I think Black Adam was one of those movies that got caught in that web of new leadership. But hey, at the end of the day, you know what it is? It’s like new ownership coming in, buying an NFL team and going, “All right, not my head coach, not my quarterback. Doesn’t matter how many times you won a Super Bowl, doesn’t matter how many rings we got, I’m going with somebody else.”

Why The DC Universe Isn’t Moving Forward With Black Adam 2

The original Black Adam was poised to introduce a number of exciting new directions for the DCEU, namely the return of Henry Cavill’s Superman for a powerful fight against Johnson’s antihero, prior to the movie’s failure. Johnson and his producing partner Dany Garcia seemed very positive about their potential future in the franchise, having indicated development on a sequel ahead of its release that would culminate in a third movie for the Superman fight. With the announcement of James Gunn and Peter Safran becoming the DC Studios’ CEOs and forging a new path known as the DC Universe, though, these plans were ultimately scrapped.

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Interestingly, Johnson had previously indicated that, in spite of Black Adam 2‘s cancelation, he was in talks with Gunn and Safran for another way to stay a part of the DCU, be it labeling the sequel under the Elseworlds banner the former has confirmed will exist, or as a new character. As such, the star/producer’s confirmation that his time is seemingly at an end in the franchise could point towards these talks not proceeding in a meaningful direction for either party. Considering Gunn looks to be rebooting nearly everything, except for Wonder Woman 3 according to Gal Gadot, there may not be room for Johnson’s ideas.

While Black Adam may have proven a short tenure for Johnson in the DCEU, he still has plenty on his plate for the near future. Johnson recently reconciled with Vin Diesel to return to the Fast and the Furious franchise both for Fast X‘s post-credits and a new spinoff, and is also working with Disney for a live-action Moana remake and Netflix on two Red Notice sequels. Additionally, with his having talks with Kevin Feige before, it will be interesting to see if he tries his hand again at the superhero genre with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Source: Hart to Heart

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