Dwayne Johnson Fights The Justice Society In New ‘Black Adam’ Trailer

Warner Bros. Discovery just released a second trailer for Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam. The main hook this time around is positioning the title character as a glorified villain (or at least antihero) being hunted by the Justice Society of America. Yes, this New Line Cinema movie, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, The Commuter, Jungle Cruise), is a sort of backdoor pilot for the JSA. Aldis Hodge plays Hawkman, Noah Centineo (the online it-boy for short thanks to a few Netflix rom-coms) plays Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell is Cyclone and Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!, The Foreigner, The Thomas Crown Affair, etc.) plays Doctor Fate. Will these four add up to an element of added value? Probably, and the idea of ​​tough heroes trying to take down the title character is interesting, even if we know that Black Adam will probably break by the end.

Black Adam is the first superhero film from a Marvel/DC comic book in which the star is bigger than the main character since Wesley Snipes’ Sheet in the summer of 1998. Movie stars have been sporting superhero clothes ever since Michael Keaton growled “I am Batman” in June 1989. The actors who donned the costumes were usually less famous than the characters they played. That was Johnson’s usual franchise/IP game, finding franchises like Rampage, Baywatch or Jumanjic where it is bigger (or at least more popular in the present day) than the IP. The closest we’ve seen might be Ben Affleck playing the Dark Knight in Batman vs Supermanwhat a big reason movie is more than deserved Man of Steel ($873 million versus $668 million) in March/April 2016. I don’t expect such bounties here, because Black Adam isn’t nearly as well known as the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman trio from Dawn of Justice.

There’s a pretty strong demographic overlap between those who show up to a new DC Films movie and those who show up to a Johnson fantasy. If the film was budgeted as a New Line movie and/or most Dwayne Johnson star vehicles, it wouldn’t have to break records to break even. Jungle Cruise costs $200 million, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Skyscraper, Rampage, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and San Andreas cost $90-$120 million. New lines Shazam got great bang for the buck with $90-$100 million. Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($110 million) and Deadpool 2 ($110 million) shows you don’t have to break the bank to please the crowds. Whatever the expectations are for this one, it’s the first four-quadrant tent since Thor: Love and Thunder last July; if it is budgeted like Shazam then it only has to be as successful as Shazam.

Black Adam opens October 21, where it will be seen as a skewed test of what David Zaslov has planned for the DC Comics brand. When it gets big, it can change the idea of Shazam and Black Adam forming their own mini DC Films continuity. If that happens, I’ve been telling them to keep Walter Hamada in his current job for a year. Covid made a kneecap on what had hitherto been a winning run for the DC movie properties. Even Wonder Woman 1984 would have been a solid global hit under non-Covid conditions. Why listen to the strong reviews and/or strong box office for Aquaman, Shazam, Joker, Birds of Prey, The Suicide Squad, The Batman) when you can let the same people shape the story as AT&T and Warner Bros. convinced that making a Snyder Cut of Justice League would appease that fanbase?