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Dwayne Johnson is discussing the DC shakeup that resulted in “Black Adam” and Henry Cavill being left out of the studio’s future plans.
Variety‘s senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin talked with Johnson and asked about his removal, along with Cavill’s Superman being dropped from the DC Universe.
Johnson, who presented at Sunday’s Oscars alongside his “Jungle Cruise” co-star Emily Blunt, spoke to Variety on the champagne carpet about the fate of the superhero film and Cavill’s fumbled return as Superman.
“All that I can do, and all that we could do when we were making ‘Black Adam,’ was to put our best foot forward and surround ourselves with the best people and deliver the best movie we could,” Johnson said. “Our audience score was in the 90s. Critics took a couple shots, but that’s just the business of it.”
Johnson knows his numbers, with a Rotten Tomatoes fan score of 88%, and critics scoring it 39%, “Black Adam” generated a disappointing $387 million globally after seven weeks on the big screen.
Prior to this news, Cavill revealed he would be back as Superman after the character made an appearance in a post-credits scene during “Black Adam” only to reverse that announcement months later.
At the box office, Jonathan Majors has quickly become The People’s Champ
In the adjacent superhero universe, Marvel’s “Ant-Man: Quantumania” joined fellow Marvel films “Deadpool” ($132.4 million in 2016) and “Black Panther” ($202 million in 2018) as just the third film to open to more than $100 million in February.
Jonathan Majors’ co-starring role in Creed III also led the film to over $100 million in its opening weekend debut, surpassing its $75 million budget with a quarter million to spare.
Thanks to pandemic era concessions, films can now hit home entertainment platforms in 33 days rather than 75, which reduces the money needed to revive marketing campaigns for a digital launch.
After spending $80 – 100 million on worldwide marketing and advertising, along with $195 million to produce the film, “Black Adam” needed to earn around $600 million worldwide to break even and to turn a profit, according to Variety sources.
The movie stood to lose $50 million to $100 million in its theatrical run, and box office experts believe “Black Adam” will stall out with less than $400 million globally, which is problematic since movie theater owners get to keep around half of those sales.
According to ABC News, Johnson offered up a sports analogy to explain how he viewed the studio’s decisions to go in a different creative direction.
“It’s almost like when you have a pro football team and your quarterback wins championships and your head coach wins championships and then a new owner comes in and says, ‘Not my coach, not my quarterback. I’m going to go with somebody new,'” he said.
In January, it was announced that the “true beginning of the DCU” will happen with the film “Superman: Legacy,” which hits theaters July 11, 2025.