Inside Dwayne Johnson’s DC director, Black Adam vs. Superman’s failed plan

From chaos comes order, to paraphrase Nietzsche.

And that’s certainly the hope of the new year when it comes to the DC Extended Universe, which has suffered the most turbulent 12 months of any studio department in 2022. Amidst the turmoil, the next release plan has been laid out.”SparkleAfter a series of arrests and meltdowns involving its star Ezra Miller, closely guarded ‘Aquaman’ deal points revealed in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial, $78 million ‘Batgirl’ movie permanently suspended for post-mortem The production as notation. It was all just garnish for an executive edit that landed James Gunn and Peter Safran in the DC driver’s seat. But perhaps nothing was quite as dramatic as Henry Cavill’s brief return as Superman in October’s “Black Adam,” only to lose out. The party is two months later.

As 2023 begins, DC heads Gunn and Safran continue to dig through the rubble and will soon reveal their interconnected three-year vision for the cinematic universe, which won’t include Cavill’s Superman or Wonder Woman whatsoever. But things could have gone in an alternate direction: behind the scenes, a different group has taken on the task of taking over the capital. Soon after the Warner Bros. merger closed. Discovery in April, Dwayne Johnson CEO David Zaslav pitched squarely on a multi-year plan for Black Adam and Superman led by Cavill as the two properties intertwine, leading to a Superman vs. Black Adam showdown, sources say. Black Adam producers Hiram Garcia, Johnson’s former son-in-law, and Beau Flynn were part of a brain trust looking to take DC down a new path. Other sources confirmed the meeting but played down any discussion of Black Adam’s future.

Although the move occurred amid a power vacuum created with former DC chairman Walter Hamada and Warner Bros. Toby Emmerich to come out, she only ruffled feathers internally, the sources added. “Dwayne circled everyone, who didn’t sit well,” says one.

In the end, Warner Bros. movie presidents Michael De Luca and Pam Abdi agreed to Cavill’s cameo in Black Adam, despite the fact that Emmerich had made the call in 2018 to find another actor to don the red cape.

But “Black Adam,” which bowed Oct. 21, failed to gross $391 million worldwide against a budget of $195 plus $40 million in reshoots, scuppering any plans for more outings for the titular antihero. A lightning bolt and officially ending the era of Cavill Superman. Cavill split from his manager, Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia, this year, but a source says it has nothing to do with the DC drama and that she remains a strategic advisor to the actor. Meanwhile, the relationship between Johnson and Warners was already tenuous after Johnson pushed for a production credit for the animated “DC League of Super-Pets,” which opened in July, but did little to promote it. The actor also insisted on a tequila bar at the New York premiere of “Black Adam,” featuring his trademark Teremana, despite the film being rated PG-13.

One person familiar with the matter notes: “His demands increased and the returns were not there.”

However, box office analyst Paul Degarabedian says Johnson found himself in Catch-22 with Black Adam. “You can’t have a more modest budget when it comes to this level of talent,” he notes of Johnson’s track record. “Budgets are proportional to the talent involved. Something with a lower budget like ‘Shazam!

“Shazam!” Earning $366 million worldwide in 2019 from a budget of $100 million. Dergarabedian notes that “Black Adam” still managed to crack the top 10 box office hits of 2022.

As for what Gunn and Safran have planned for DC’s future, sources describe it as an extensive reset but not a comprehensive one. At this point, nothing is ruled out. Given that Miller has stayed out of trouble since starting mental health treatment in the summer, some execs are ready to stick with the actor as the world-saving speedster after the bends of “The Flash” on June 16. “Blue Beetle” and Gunn’s series “Peacemaker” for HBO Max could also have a place at the table. Gunn and Safran, both recommended by De Luca, have the full support of WBD’s highest echelons.

In a testament to the idea that no Hollywood relationship is truly severed, “Batgirl” directors Adel Elaraby and Bilal Falah said: diverse They are open to working with Warner Bros. On the road.

“We are fans of DC, and if we get the chance in the future to do something in this universe, we will never say no,” Elaraby said at the Red Sea Film Festival last month. “I mean, of course, our only condition is that the movie has to come out.”

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