Dwayne Johnson Calls Black Adam A Casualty of WB Regime Changes

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August 6, 2023

Warner Bros.’ plans for its DC movies have shifted enough times that even Mystique would tell the company to chill, and last year’s Black Adam only served to further complicate things. Prior to release, its claim to fame was that Dwayne Johnson would finally play a comic book superhero (that he had an iron grip on for 15 years) and bringing back Henry Cavill as Superman. And as we all know, the movie was going to be a powerful declaration that the hierarchy of power in the DC universe would forever change.

…Or rather, that was the intention with Black Adam. The actual film didn’t really land in a particular way with audiences and depending on who you ask, was either a bomb or a dud for WB, who really needed a win last year. In a recent clip for Kevin Hart’s Hart to Hart talk show , Johnson was asked what the deal was with Black Adam and why any Black Adam 2 plans (along with any future appearances) have currently been iced now that James Gunn is the creative head for DC Studios. In his eyes, the movie got “knocked down a bit” for a variety of reasons, from Covid to the ever-shifting regime over at WB.

Dwanye Johnson Explains Why ‘Black Adam’ Is Not Continuing | Hart to Heart

“[It] got caught in a vortex of new leadership,” said Johnson. “Anytime you have a company, 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, one of the biggest mysteries I think, not only for me and us on our end, but also throughout our business.”

He later added that he views his many projects through the lens of audience reactions, and by his estimation, Black Adam was seemingly a success. While acknowledging that his movie helped diversify DC’s superhero portfolio and the film had the biggest opening weekend of his career, Johnson admitted that WB was looking at the movie through its box office. In that sense, he compared the icing out to being like football: “New ownership buys an NFL team and goes, ‘Not my coach, not my quarterback.’ It doesn’t matter how many times you won the Super Bowl or how many rings you got, you’re going with somebody else.”

Johnson isn’t exactly wrong on the movie being dealt a bad hand. Shifting directives from WB is why The Flash ended up having to redo its ending three times, and how the DCEU famously fell into disarray to begin with. Easy as it is to snark about Black Adam, it was a victim, much like more recent DC movies—either they’re canceled before they can get out the door, or they’re just sort of being hung out to dry until Superman: Legacy presumably hits in 2025. That said, Johnson’s movie may have landed better if it had come out in 2007 when it was meant to. Or failing that, it could’ve worked a little harder to not feel like it was conceived of during that era, and done more than just insist its lead antihero wasn’t like any other comic book character we’d previously seen.

Black Adam is available to watch over on Max.

[via Variety]

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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