A new report claims that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and DC Films’ production for Black Adam ballooned to $260 million after a round of costly reshoots.
This new report comes from The Hollywood Reporter (THR) shortly after Johnson announced that Black Adam is not part of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s upcoming slate for the DCU.
Johnson shared the news to his social media, writing on Twitter, “James Gunn and I connected, and Black Adam will not be in their first chapter of storytelling. However, DC and Seven Bucks have agreed to continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilized in future DC multiverse chapters.”
He added, “James and I have known each other for years and have always rooted for each other to succeed. It’s no different now, and I will always root for DC (and Marvel) to win and WIN BIG.”
Johnson then added, “These decision made by James and DC leadership represent their vision of DCU through their creative lens.”
“After 15 years of relentless hard work to finally make Black Adam, I’m very proud of the film we delivered for fans worldwide. I will always look back on the fan reaction to Black Adam with tremendous gratitude, humility and love.”
Johnson appeared to try to put a positive spin on Black Adam’s poor box office showing after the film only brought in $390.9 million worldwide and $167.8 million at the domestic box office.
Given the film reportedly had a $200 million production budget at the time, it would have needed to earn at least $500 million to break even. However, Johnson claimed the film made somewhere between $52 million and $72 million in profit.
He wrote on Twitter, “Waited to confirm with financiers before I shared this excellent Black Adam news – our film will PROFIT between $52M-$72M Fact.”
“At almost $400M worldwide we are building our new franchise step by step (first Captain America did $370M) for the DC future,” he added.
Clearly that future is now dead as Black Adam is not in Gunn and Safran’s plans for the DCU. However, this new report from THR’s Aaron Couch and Borys Kit also claims the production is much higher than early estimates of $200 million.
Couch and Kit claim, “Greenlit at $190 million, the movie’s costs ballooned to the $260 million mark, according to sources, especially after a costly 20-day round of reshoots undertaken after a poor test screening. That does not include marketing costs.”
If that number is accurate the film needed to make around $650 million just to break even. Obviously, it’s nowhere near hitting that mark.
The high priced production budget and the poor return likely did not do Johnson any favors in swaying Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to his side. Zaslav has made it crystal clear he only wants winners and he’s willing to cut the fat when it comes to bloated projects.
On an earnings call back in November, Zaslav revealed he wants to find $3.5 billion in savings and he’s willing to cut projects like Batgirl to find it. In fact, he defended his decision to cut films and shows like Batgirl saying, “We did not get rid of any show that was helping us.”
He added, “This is more than just a dollar tally of what we’ve saved on an expense line. It is more than just a number. We are fundamentally rethinking and reimagining how this organization is structured. And we are empowering our business unit leadership to transform their organizations with an owners mindset and a view on quality and accountability.”
Not only is he reforming the entire company, but he also made clear he wants the company to focus on the big names when it comes to DC properties.
“You look at Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman — these are brands that are known everywhere in the world, the ability to drive those all over the world with great story is a big opportunity for us,” Zaslav said in August. “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business where we are going to focus, where there is going to be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC. We believe we can build a much more sustainable business.”
He added, “It’s very similar to the structure that Alan Horn and Bob Iger put together very effectively with Kevin Feige at Disney. We think that we could build a long-term, much stronger sustainable growth business out of DC. And as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready. We’re not going to release a film to make a quarter. We’re not going to release a film under — the focus is going to be how do we make each of these films in general as good as possible.”
What do you make of this new report regarding Black Adam’s budget and Black Adam not being part of Gunn and Safran’s plans for the DCU?