Shazam! Fury of the Gods is not doing well at the box office, and the fallout has been pretty dramatic with everyone from the film’s director to its cast commenting on why it is struggling. The obvious reason is, of course, that it is now a sequel that will probably not have any meaning for or take part in the future in James Gunn’s DC Universe, but the less obvious reason is Dwayne Johnson’s attempted bid to take over the DC films through Black Adam. That’s according to a new report from The Wrap, and Shazam star Zachary Levi used the report on his social media to throw some shade at Dwayne Johnson.
Zachary Levi posted this on his Instagram story.
— Home of DCU (@homeofdcu) March 21, 2023
Basically, the report says Dwayne Johnson, thinking he was about to rearrange and take control of the DCEU, blocked every attempt to connect Shazam with Black Adam. The actor, who, in fairness, has been consistently blockbuster gold, completely ignored Shazam in favor of setting up a showdown between him and Henry Cavill’s Superman, positioning Black Adam at the center of the entire DC universe. This is despite the close connection between Shazam and Black Adam characters, who receive their power from the same source and are linked directly in the comics.
The report states Dwayne Johnson, obsessed with becoming the key to DC’s film stuff by pushing Black Adam versus Superman, vetoed a closing credits sequence that featured Zachary Levi at the end of Black Adam and refused to show up in Fury of the Gods, forcing director David F. Sandberg to make a weird Peacekeeper cameo instead that would bring Shazam into the JSA.
This is clearly not the only reason why Fury of the Gods bombed at the box office, but considering the film was already thought of as a dead end in terms of universe-building, completely disconnecting it from Black Adam didn’t help at all. Everything that comes out about Black Adam and Johnson’s decade-long attempt to center himself in the DC universe makes “The Rock” look worse and worse, honestly. He seemed so confident in a movie that wasn’t actually that good at all that he basically burned every bridge he could believing he’d be the king of the roost, only to lose it all when Black Adam underperformed. His gamble flopped, and while Johnson will be just fine, this whole ordeal has definitely dealt a blow to his public persona as one of the good guys.
DC still has a few more films to clean up before the Gunn era can begin, so it will be interesting to see if they can perform better or if it’s all a lost cause. The Flash, with it all-star cast, has the best chance, but films like Blue Beetle and the upcoming Aquaman sequel seem like they are in grave danger of flopping as well.