There’s nothing quite so wild as Hollywood drama, and Dwayne Johnson’s crash and burn with Black Adam isn’t so much a superhero smash as a superhero flop. From middling box office numbers to defensive claims about said box office numbers, to assurances from new DC maestro James Gunn that Black Adam’s not dead, just on ice... there’s really nothing more that could surprise us.
At least until Variety decided to pull out all the receipts and figure out what exactly went wrong here. Black Adam had the budget, the star, and the space in the DCEU timeline to get all eyes on it. So, this all started to go down in 2022, when Dwayne Johnson bent the ear of CEO David Zaslav and “directly pitched... a multiyear plan for Black Adam and a Cavill-led Superman in which the two properties would interweave, setting up a Superman-versus-Black Adam showdown.”
This conversation apparently turned the tide of internal opinion at Warner Bros, mostly because “Dwayne went around everyone, which didn’t sit well,” reports one of Variety’s sources. Additionally, another source said that “[Johsonson’s] demands increased and the returns just weren’t there.” Such demands included asking for a producer credit on DC League of Super-Pets and then barely doing any promotion at all, then insisting that a bar serving his tequila brand, Teremana, be installed at the NYC premiere of Black Adam, despite its PG-13 rating.
And then, when the title fizzled out at the box office despite the Cavill cameo, and without anyone at the newly-merged Warner Bros. to stand up for Johnson, it appears as if that was the end of Black Adam’s ongoing franchise. As these reports continue to come out, it seems likely that the writing might be on the wall for Dwayne Johnson’s DC career.