Black Adam opened to negative reviews and decent, if somewhat underwhelming, box office numbers. A Superman cameo increased interest, of course, but even for a relatively unknown character, the movie should have performed much better given its lead star and years of hype.
Not helping matters was the fact that the movie was billed as the start of a new era for the DCEU, with news breaking just days after it was released that the real new era would begin under the purview of James Gunn and Peter Safran's DC Studios.
Now, as they continue to create a DCU slate, Dwayne Johnson has somewhat uncharacteristically gone on the defence, clearly pushing Black Adam as a bigger hit than it was in an effort to make a sequel and various spin-offs a reality.
He's created an interesting narrative on social media, and one that, if those movies don't happen, will likely see Gunn and Safran blamed for not delivering the promised Hawkman movie, for example (even though the real reason for it not becoming a reality would be down to all-important box office receipts).
In this feature, we take a look at why a war with Warner Bros. and DC Studios is one Johnson isn't going to win, raising some interesting questions about why his Black Adam slate simply won't happen the way he wants it to. You can read through our breakdown by hitting the "Next" button below!
The Rock Doesn't Have Enough Sway At Warner Bros.
There are some actors who work almost exclusively with certain studios, making a home for themselves and earning a lot of influence in the process. In Johnson's case, he's starred in some moderate to sizeable hits for Warner Bros. and just about every other studio, but with Black Adam's so-so $67 million opening the biggest of his career, he's not a big earner for them.
With countless headlines debating how much draw Johnson has as a movie star (and doubting the very idea that any actor can make a difference with big IPs these days), his reputation is somewhat tarnished.
This has clearly hurt Johnson, hence why we've seen a different side to him in recent days as he hits back at the notion that Black Adam won't turn a profit. Leaking internal financial information to a Hollywood trade is a new one for us, as is using merchandise sales to try and convince people his movie is profitable when, at the box office, it really isn't.
The actor seems intent on willing a Black Adam slate into reality, but who will Warner Bros. choose to back: an A-Lister who just delivered them another disappointment or their new DC Studios heads?
A Slate Of Black Adam Films Makes No Sense
We certainly can't fault Johnson's ambitions, but Black Adam 2 barely makes sense, never mind a whole slew of spin-off projects. The next logical step for the franchise is to have Teth-Adam cross paths with Shazam in a crossover, not another solo outing pitting him against a C-List baddie akin to Sabbac.
While Pierce Brosnan's Dr. Fate made an impact, his story ended with him dying. As for Hawkman, he was there to make Black Adam look like a badass, and spent most of the movie being beaten up by the anti-hero.
Oh, and if you're rooting for Atom Smasher and Cyclone movies? We don't know what to say.
While Johnson started off by hyping Black Adam's introduction as a shift in the hierarchy of power in the DCEU, that's somehow evolved into a whole slate of movies set in his corner of that world. If the project had been a $750 million - $1 billion hit, we'd get it, but why would Gunn and Safran devote so much of their new DCU slate to Black Adam and the JSA?
If Wonder Woman 3 Can't Make The Cut, Black Adam Doesn't Stand A Chance
Gunn is one of the most likeable filmmakers working in Hollywood today, and is often open and honest with fans on social media. However, as the co-CEO of DC Studios alongside Safran, a lot of pressure is resting on his shoulders to create a DCU that's every bit as popular and successful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That's no easy feat, and if he gets it wrong...well, that could spell doom for a career that's clearly set to stretch beyond just writing and directing movies.
Patty Jenkins, who helmed Wonder Woman (one of the only critically and commercially successful DCEU movies) and Wonder Woman 1984, had her pitch for a third movie turned down by the DC Studios bosses. Clearly, there's a level of ruthlessness there when it comes to only moving forward with projects they're 100% confident in.
If, under this new regime, Warner Bros. is willing to part ways with someone like Jenkins after she's delivered two huge movies for them, does The Rock really stand a chance? We've asked a lot of questions here, but to that, we'll answer "no."
Simply Put, Black Adam Was NOT A Hit
Everyone loves Dwayne Johnson, and we're not remotely shocked. He's a great guy, a joy to watch on screen (there's no denying he was the best part of Black Adam), and someone who spreads a lot of positivity online. That's understandably earned him a lot of favourable press, and negative headlines aren't the norm for him.
While he's starred in quite a few movies that weren't critical hits, headlines questioning his star power that blame him for killing the DCEU aren't what he's used to or what he wanted. After all, this is a movie that he spent two years hyping up as the first chapter in a new era for this shared world.
That era is now being ended by Gunn and Safran's DCU, a move that coincidentally makes it look like he's to blame.
No matter how much money merchandise has generated, Black Adam has made roughly the same as Shazam! and cost twice as much to produce. In terms of box office revenue, it will not break even, never mind turn a profit. Oh, and it's one of the worst-reviewed DC movies ever. That gives Johnson little room to exert his influence over Warner Bros.