Dwayne Johnson Is Teasing A Meeting With Marvel Studios (And What Does That Mean?)
Okay, so if you’re here that means you wanted to check out my two cents on all this. Please note that what you’ll see next are my own opinions and speculation, based on things I’ve reported and things I’ve heard.
Am I worried about Dwayne Johnson exiting his DC commitments? Yes. I am.
And there are are two-fold:
I. New Bosses
Lost in all of the chatter about Disney buying Fox and the ramifications of that is that Warner Bros was also recently bought out. AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. on June 15 of last year.
Up to this point, we haven’t heard a great many stories about what the new ownership looks like; What their priorities are; How they plan to monetize the WB’s intellectual properties; What they think of the last few years of DC’s cinematic output; Where they want it to go next.
And while we don’t know the answers to a lot of those questions, we can safely infer that they want to get costs down and profits up. It’s the fundamental goal of any business, of course, but in the case of Warner Bros., it’s become a necessity.
Even before the AT&T acquisition went through, Walter Hamada had been brought in because of his great success at New Line Cinema- where he produced low budget films that turned unbelievable profits. He was tasked with bringing that mindset to DC Entertainment, and in the first film produced completely under his watch, Shazam!, he demonstrated that exact ability.
The David F. Sandberg film cost less than $100 million to make, and has already more than tripled that figure.
And yet, I’ve heard irrational whispers of AT&T executives being somewhat underwhelmed by Shazam!‘s haul. I say “irrational” because by most reasonable metrics, more than tripling your budget should be a reason to celebrate. But if we’ve learned anything these last few years it’s that Hollywood execs don’t always see things the way you’d expect them to.
And if there is any truth to those whispers, and the new owners are disappointed, that could mean they’re unsure how to proceed with their Shazam!-centric plans- like a sequel and a Black Adam movie.
If Johnson has gotten a whiff of any such uncertainty, it could explain why he’s open to fielding offers from their chief rival.
Another interesting subplot in all of this is the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill..
See, Cavill and Johnson have a very unique link. After years of managing and helping to propel Johnson into the movie star he is today, Dany Garcia took on Henry Cavill as a client in 2016.
Six months later, Cavill posted this picture and included the caption:
“Merry Christmas a Happy New Year from Superman and Black Adam. Today we drink like gentleman and come together as friends. We’re excited for what the future brings…”
Merry Christmas a Happy New Year from Superman and Black Adam @therock . Today we drink like gentleman and come together as friends. We're excited for what the future brings.. #DangerousGentleman #DCWorldsWillCollide #Superman A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on
Merry Christmas a Happy New Year from Superman and Black Adam @therock . Today we drink like gentleman and come together as friends. We're excited for what the future brings.. #DangerousGentleman #DCWorldsWillCollide #Superman
A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on
Now please note the hashtags he used: #DangerousGentlemen, #DCWorldsCollide and #Superman.
With that post Cavill, Johnson, and their team were clearly trying to cause a stir and plant the idea of future collaborations between the two in the cinematic DC universe.
I’ve also heard murmurs over the years, many of us have, that Johnson is keen on having his Black Adam throw down with Superman- as opposed to his usual foe, Shazam. Not necessarily for the first Black Adam movie, but he sees dollar signs in an Adam/Superman conflict.
And yet, what’s happened since that December 2016 Instagram post?
Cavill’s tenure as Superman seemingly came to an abrupt end. And while the door isn’t 100% shut on a return, it became very clear late last year that there was some trouble in paradise. I’ve written a ton about all of that, so there’s no need to retread that here.
I’ve come under fire in the past, and Garcia’s camp outright attempted to “debunk” my assertions that they spoiled the deal for a contract extension by being overzealous at the negotiation table, but aside from what my own sources have told me, just take a look at the Garcia tweet from earlier and her Instagram post below:
In both posts, which were part of the announcement of his signing with Garcia, she refers to Cavill as a “Producer.” Mind you, Cavill had never produced anything. Up to that point, he’d only been known as an actor. And still is. Even now. He is not a producer. But her use of that phrase was part of her attempts to rebrand him in Hollywood as a multi-hyphenate superstar, like Johnson. She’s spoken of him in these kinds of grandiose terms since then, too. So it’s clear they have sky-high hopes for Cavill’s future.
But if what I’ve heard is true, and the studio doesn’t feel nearly as confidently about Cavill as Garcia publicly claims to, then it’s unlikely the two sides are going to find a decent compromise.
That’s why, if Cavill is out, and the studio isn’t in love with Garcia’s approach to things, I can see another reason why Johnson would want to take a call from Feige’s people.
Can there be a happy ending?
Yes! I certainly think so.
I’ve always thought that all it would take was a simple compromise. If Cavill’s team reduces what they’d like to get out of a contact extension, I’m sure the studio would be all ears. And now, with the added pressure of “Hmm, if we ditch Henry, we may lose Dwayne freakin’ Johnson,” I could see it resolving in a way that’ll make many of you very happy.
Heck, that may be part of what Johnson was doing here: Applying a little public pressure on DC Entertainment to take his requests more seriously. And I think they’d be crazy not to.
Of course, what would’ve probably made all of this entirely avoidable and ensured things went a certain way would’ve been Shazam! being a smash. I know we’re all happy to see the film do relatively well, but if it had made closer to, say, $500-$600M as opposed to the $346M it’s made, you can bet that the studio would be extremely open-minded about where to go next; Especially when you consider that the film ends with a brief glimpse of Superman.
In short, had Shazam! hit big, and reignited a general interest in Superman after his surprise appearance at the end, I don’t think we’d be talking about any of this today. Johnson would be out there thumping his chest and continuing to hype up Black Adam, not telling Feige in front of an audience of millions that he wants to meet with him.
But that’s just me.
What do you think?
I discuss this further on Episode 94 of The Fanboy Podcast:“Experiencing Endgame, Batman Update, Dwayne Johnson’s DC Future, Superman, and Blissful Goodbyes.”
Listen now by CLICKING HERE!
Editor-In-Chief and Co-Founder of Revenge of The Fans. Previously, he's written for Latino-Review, IGN, Moviehole, and The Splash Report. He's also the host of the top-rated show The Fanboy Podcast and the co-host of The Revengers Podcast. E-Mail: MFR@RevengeOfTheFans.com | Twitter: @I_AM_MFR