Black Adam’s editor reveals why Dwayne Johnson is the reason the film didn’t get an R rating. An athlete turned movie star, Johnson is best known for his roles in blockbuster action films such as San Andreas, Skyscraper, and Hercules. The actor rose to fame for his role as Luke Hobbs in the hugely popular Fast & Furious series in which he became one of the highest paid actors in the industry. Johnson is also known for its family-friendly appeal in leading films such as Disney’s moana and Jungle Cruise like DC League of Super Pets.
Johnson plays in Black Adam, a superhero film based on the DC Comics of the same name that finally made its debut in October. The film is a spin-off of Shazam! and is the eleventh overall film in DC’s vast film universe. An archaeologist searching for the Crown of Sebbac, a powerful artifact created by the tyrannical king Ahk-Ton, frees Teth-Adam from his centuries-long slumber in the belief that he is the ill-fated hero of the legend. She soon discovers that Teth-Adam has destructive powers and the Justice Society of America is called in to confront the emerging threat. However, Teth-Adam must join forces with the JSA when the last living descendant of King Ahk-Ton uses the crown of Sebbac to unleash demonic evils on the city of Kahndaq.
In an exclusive interview with screen frenzy, editor Michael L. Sale shares the reason why Black Adam did not receive an R rating. Sales show that while the film had plenty of opportunities for darker sequences and more intense violence, there was pressure from producers to back out. Due to Johnson’s broad appeal and his family-friendly audience, Sale was encouraged to set the tone for the Black Adam franchise to ensure the first in the series became a box office success. Read Sale’s full quote below:
“What I got from the producers was that we wanted to make sure [it wasn’t too heavy]. It would have been easy to make an R-rated version of Black Adam, right? Personally I would love it. I would’ve been like, “Oh, let him put his hand through people. Go crazy,” right? I’m an old guy, and I’m a horror man. I like all kinds of things. I would have been happy.
“There was something coming from the director and the producers that, ‘Hey, we want to make this movie for everyone. Dwayne has a huge fan base, and he has a family fan base. “For us, it wasn’t about sticking to DC’s tone, past or present. It was about establishing our tone and our brand and the Black Adam brand. Our tone is like, ‘Hey, we’re going to be tense . But it’s also a movie where you can take your kids with mom and dad, and watch it. And it won’t be so horrible that you feel bad,’ right?
“I think the proof is in the pudding, because this week you saw families in droves enjoying Black Adam. I was really happy we went that way. I think that’s what these movies are for. I think what it does.” is opening up a whole path where DC now has options to do many different things.”
Would Black Adam be just as successful with an R rating?
Black Adam quickly became a blockbuster, earning $67 million during its opening weekend, a record high for Johnson. As Sale acknowledges, its success is due in large part to families showing up during the film’s premiere weekend. R-rated movies are less frequented by families who may have to leave younger children at home. In addition, an R rating would prevent the film’s primary demographic, teenagers, from going to the cinema. For these reasons, R-rated movies rarely break box office records or have as wide reach as more traditional, family-friendly superhero movies.
Johnson’s stardom hinges on his clean reputation and marketability, which sets the overall tone of Black Adam. While some fans may be disappointed by this change of tone in general, the film’s huge success confirms it was the right decision. Johnson’s mass appeal has breathed new life into the vast DC universe with much-needed audience enthusiasm.
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