The Rock's first superhero movie, DC's 'Black Adam,' now has a release date. But he's been teasing the project for years.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson confirmed the release date for his first superhero movie, "Black Adam," in an Instagram post on Thursday.
- The movie will hit theaters in December 2021, seven years after Johnson first confirmed that he was cast as the character.
- Warner Bros. and DC have been focusing on standalone stories rather than a connected movie universe after "Justice League" disappointed at the box office in 2017.
- The character Black Adam is a frequent foe of Shazam in the comics, who starred in his own solo movie earlier this year. It remains to be seen how "Black Adam" will crossover with "Shazam!," if at all.
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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the highest-paid actor in the world, is finally starring in a superhero movie.
Johnson confirmed the release date for Warner Bros. and DC's "Black Adam" in an Instagram post on Thursday. The movie will hit theaters on December 22, 2021 and Johnson called the role "unlike any other I've ever played in my career."
"Black Adam" is long in the making and the wrestler-turned-actor has been teasing his involvement with the project for years.
He first hinted that he was in talks with Warner Bros. for a then-unknown superhero movie in 2012. Johnson responded to a fan on Twitter who suggested he should play a DC character, saying "funny you should say that." He intensified the guessing game in July 2014 when he hinted that he would soon be playing a character with "the power of Superman."
A month later, The Associated Press reported that Johnson was deciding between two characters to play: Shazam and his nemesis Black Adam. In the comics, both characters' powers stem from a similar magic and Black Adam has sometimes been portrayed as an anti-hero. The speculation was put to rest in September 2014 when Johnson tweeted that he would be playing Black Adam.
J.G. Jones/DC Comics
Seven years after Johnson confirmed his casting, "Black Adam" will fly into theaters. In the time since then, DC movies have experienced plenty of ups and downs.
The DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros.' answer to Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, crashed and burned with "Justice League," the culmination of four previous movies worth of build up. The superhero crossover made $658 million globally and just $229 million domestically off of a pricey $300 million production budget (before marketing costs).
Warner Bros. rethought its superhero movie strategy after "Justice League" disappointed and has been focusing on standalone stories rather than a connected universe. So far, it's worked. Last year's "Aquaman" earned over $1 billion worldwide. "Joker," an origin story of the popular Batman villain, is currently on track to pass $1 billion and would be the first R-rated movie to ever do so. "Shazam!" was released earlier this year to a more timid box-office reception ($365 million worldwide), but was beloved by critics.
Johnson told Yahoo last year that DC is "doing a great job finding the footing and tone of their movies," acknowledging that Marvel has done "an incredible job of universe building."
"It's this phenomenal opportunity for us to nail the tone and make sure he's badass," Johnson said of "Black Adam."
If "Black Adam" is at all inspired by the comics, it will be hard to ignore the character's connection to Shazam. Johnson added that the character has "intrinsic DNA tied to a lot of other properties in DC." Still, judging by Warner Bros.' recent approach, there's reason to believe the movie could downplay that connection for the character's solo debut.
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