“The hierarchy of power in the DC universe is about to change.” This was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s promotional line for his DC film “Black Adam.” But considering the embarrassing saga surrounding the profit-loss discussion of his movie, it looks like very little has changed. So let us break down what happened and, more importantly, why it happened.
Breaking Down The ‘Black Adam’ Profit-Loss Controversy
Dwayne Johnson was cast as “Black Adam” back in November of 2007. So it took almost 15 years for his project to see the light of day. But it wasn’t the box-office success that Johnson thought it was going to be. Produced on a reported budget of $195 to $230 million, the film didn’t even scrape past $400 million. As per The Numbers site, the movie has grossed approximately $389 million till now. About a week ago, Variety reported that the Black Adam movie was on its way to become a box-office failure. The trade outlet reported that the DC film, featuring one of Hollywood’s biggest stars right now, was going to cost Warner Bros. Discovery anywhere from $50 million to $100 million.
The film had to ideally earn $600 million at least to turn a decent profit, but it failed to do that. A couple of days after this report came out, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that “Black Adam” was making a profit of $52 million to $72 million. The actor also indicated that the performance of his DCU movie was on par with the first “Captain America” movie of the MCU. So he likened it to the start of a new franchise. But this wasn’t all. Only a day later, he tweeted a link to an article by Deadline that explained how “Black Adam” was a profitable film.
The article explained that the film would churn out a decent profit considering the earnings from PVOD, merchandising, streaming, and more. This report and Dwayne Johnson’s words reassured DC fans that the latest DC outing was not a failure. However, many trade analysts and box-office pundits stated that even though it was ultimately going to earn a profit, a movie starring The Rock just scooting past the profit finish line wasn’t ideal for the start of a franchise.
Many also mentioned that the comparison with the MCU’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” movie was disingenuous. After all, the landscapes for the superhero cinema was different a decade ago. The first “Captain America” film was made before “Avengers” and “Avengers: Endgame.” These two movies especially changed the public’s perception of superhero tentpoles and proved the box office might of such films. There’s also the fact that the first Captain America movie had a budget of $140 million, about $50 to $80 million less than the latest DC outing. However, everyone understood Johnson’s general sentiment regarding his comparison and gave him a pass.
But a report by Matt Belloni of Puck changed it all. Belloni alleged that, as per multiple Warner Bros. Discovery executives, the Deadline report fed by Dwayne Johnson’s team was full of false assumptions. He also called it a silly trade story. The reporter said it was doubtful if the movie would touch the kind of home entertainment money The Rock was hoping for. He concluded that Johnson’s DC film would break even, but it won’t be considered a movie worth the studio’s time.
Why Did Dwayne Johnson Lie About ‘Black Adam’ Profits?
Technically, the Hollywood star didn’t lie about the money his movie was going to make. But his words and the revenue streams he took into consideration to come to that conclusion gave off the idea that he’s trying to convince everyone that the movie is a hit. But right now, as per trusted trade outlets like Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be lucky to just break even. This is even considering the ancillary sources of revenue.
However, it’s understandable why The Rock exaggerated the earnings of his first superhero movie. Not only was “Black Adam” in the making for the better part of two decades, but Johnson put a lot of effort into it. When the movie was in production, he posted on Instagram about his fitness plan. Also, he talked about staying in peak physical shape and not resorting to stuffed superhero suits to play up his physicality. Additionally, it’s clear that he wanted to fight Henry Cavill’s Superman in a later movie.
In an Instagram video post, he stated how troublesome it was to get Cavill back in the red and blue suit since the previous DC and WB regimes didn’t want him back. But he fought to get the Man of Steel actor back because, for Johnson, the DC Universe isn’t possible without Henry’s hero. However, the rumors tell a different story. It’s speculated that the new DC regime, composed of new DC Studios CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, is planning a total reboot to start anew. This made The Rock nervous since he thought that the lack of clear profits meant that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy a slice of the DC pie.
As per today’s bombastic news, where Henry Cavill stated that he was departing the role of DCEU Superman, his fears must have come true. Right now, it looks like the new bosses want to wipe the slate clean. This brings up the question of whether “Black Adam” will get a sequel or not. As of now, we don’t have any official confirmation. But the signs are not great for a green light.
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