Dwayne Johnson says Black Adam got caught in the change of leadership at DC. On his Peacock series Hart to Heart, Kevin Hart asked Johnson what happened that caused plans for future films featuring Black Adam to be halted. The episode, recorded prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, allowed the star to talk about his frustrations with how the project was handled.
Dwayne Johnson sat down with Kevin Hart and talked about how Black Adam was the victim of poor timing thanks to DC’s leadership change.
As Hart points out in the interview, Black Adam was a project Dwayne Johnson cared a lot about. Not only did it center on a superhero of color, it included a cast of people of color and saw the return of Henry Cavill as Superman. It was also intended to be the beginning of a new series of films focusing on the character of Black Adam.
Dwayne Johnson says the change in leadership was to blame for the axing of his superhero role. The 2022 film, he says, was first delayed by COVID-19 and then got “caught in a web of new leadership” when James Gunn and Peter Safran took over the now-redubbed DCU. Citing additional complications from stockholders and other leadership changes, the star—who also served as a producer on the film—said he is still a bit mystified by the whole thing.
Dwayne Johnson thinks Black Adam’s ban in China robbed the film of an additional “100 or 200 million” at the box office.
Calling the cancellation of Black Adam 2 “one of the biggest mysteries,” Dwayne Johnson expressed the difficulty and confusion of having one of the biggest openings of his career lead to the cancellation of future projects. He remarks in the interview that the film was not released in China, which he says might have bolstered revenues by “100 or 200 million.”
This was due to the film like Black Panther and others being banned in China, possibly due to a 20-year-old photo of Doctor Fate actor Pierce Brosnan with the Dalai Lama, which the actor posted to Instagram in 2020.
But Dwayne Johnson brushes aside this setback, as well as what he characterizes as a few harsh remarks about Black Adam from critics as less than consequential. What he might not be taking into consideration, though, is the film’s drop in receipts following a strong opening weekend. Reportedly needing to gross $600 million to break even, the film fell short of pulling in $400 million, earning about $393 million worldwide.
Though it was a passion project of Dwayne Johnson’s, Black Adam is a one-and-done film for DC.
Despite Dwayne Johnson’s passion for the Black Adam character and the film’s good opening numbers, it ultimately represented a box office disappointment for Warner Bos. the writing may have been on the wall with or without a change in leadership for DC. This, along with Gunn’s insistence on moving in a different direction with Superman, whose appearance at the end of the film tied Black Adam to a version of the hero that will not be seen in future films, helped cancel a sequel.
Still, Dwayne Johnson expressed on social media that the “no” from Gunn and Saffron was at least for the present and that they were open to seeing where Black Adam might fit in future DCU films. Ultimately, that might be the execs letting Johnson down easy, as there seems little to motivate them to move forward with the character. Only time will tell, though, and with a third version of Fantastic Four on its way from Marvel, we know comic book characters are rarely gone for good.