Why Dwayne Johnson’s efforts to change the hierarchy of power in the DCEU failed

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam.Warner Bros.

A new report goes some way to explaining why Dwayne Johnson’s efforts to reintroduce Henry Cavill’s Superman into the DCEU fell at the first hurdle.

For months Dwayne Johnson spoke about “changing the hierarchy of power” in DC’s extended universe. Through Black Adam he’d debut new characters, and set up storylines for both sequels and spinoffs.

His secret weapon was Henry Cavill; the actor cameoing as Superman in a mid-credit scene, thereby bringing that Man of Steel iteration back into the DC fold.

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But then Black Adam hit screens, made less than $400 million worldwide, and all those plans were cancelled by the team now planning WB’s superhero properties. A new report goes some way to suggesting what went wrong behind-the-scenes.

How Dwayne Johnson “ruffled feathers” at Warner Bros.

During the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, there was something of a power vacuum at the top of the DCEU, and Variety reports that’s when Dwayne Johnson made his play…

“In April, Dwyane Johnson directly pitched CEO David Zaslav on a multiyear plan for Black Adam and a Cavill-led Superman in which the two properties would interweave, setting up a Superman-versus-Black Adam showdown.”

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According to the outlet, this move “ruffled feathers” at the top, with one source quoted as saying: “Dwayne went around everyone, which didn’t sit well.”

A tale of tequila and super-pets

The Variety report then suggests two more reasons for Johnson’s relationship with WB becoming strained.

“Johnson pushed for a producing credit on the animated film DC League of Super-Pets, which opened in July, but did little to promote it.” That film made $206 million from a reported $90 million budget.

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The other issue was alcohol-related, with Variety stating that: “The actor also insisted on a tequila bar at the New York premiere of Black Adam featuring his Teremana brand, despite the film being rated PG-13.”

The article ends with a source stating: “His demands increased and the returns just weren’t there.” So while the hierarchy of power has changed at the top of the DCEU – with James Gunn and Peter Safran now overseeing projects – it sounds like Dwayne Johnson might not be part of their future plans.

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