Black Adam (film)

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Black Adam
The titular antihero stands with a charred costume on a black background, with the tagline "The world needed a hero / It got Black Adam" on the side.
Teaser poster
Directed byJaume Collet-Serra
Written by
Based onCharacters
from DC
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyLawrence Sher
Edited by
  • John Lee
  • Michael L. Sale
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 21, 2022 (2022-10-21)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Black Adam is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema, DC Films, Seven Bucks Productions, and FlynnPictureCo., and set for distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is intended to be a spin-off from Shazam! (2019) and the 11th film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and written by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, the film stars Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam / Black Adam alongside Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabongui, and Pierce Brosnan.

Johnson was attached to Shazam! early in development, and confirmed that he would portray the villain Black Adam in September 2014. The producers decided to give the character his own film in January 2017, and Sztykiel was hired that October. Collet-Serra joined in June 2019 for a planned release date of December 2021, but this timeline was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional casting took place over the next year, including for members of the Justice Society of America (JSA), and the script was re-written by Haines and Noshirvani. Filming took place from April to August 2021 at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, and also in Los Angeles.

Black Adam is scheduled to be released in the United States on October 21, 2022.

Cast[edit]

Additionally, James Cusati-Moyer,[12] Mo Amer,[13] and Uli Latukefu have been cast in undisclosed roles.[14] The criminal organization Intergang will appear in the film.[15]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

New Line Cinema began development of a Shazam! feature film in the early 2000s, based on the DC Comics character Captain Marvel. The title came from the wizard Shazam who gives the hero his powers, with DC unable to use the title Captain Marvel due to legal issues.[16] Peter Segal signed on to direct the film in April 2006,[17] and Dwayne Johnson was approached about portraying Captain Marvel later that year. By November 2007, Johnson was also interested in the film's antagonist, Black Adam, and had received positive responses from fans about him possibly playing that character.[18] Development on the film was placed on hold by January 2009,[19] but had begun again by April 2014 when Warner Bros. (the parent company of New Line) and DC began planning a slate of superhero films for its shared universe, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).[20] That August, Johnson said he was still attached to the film but had not yet decided if he would play Captain Marvel or Black Adam.[21] A month later, Johnson announced that he would portray Black Adam.[22]

In January 2017, Johnson met with DC's Geoff Johns to discuss the project after studio executives grew concerned that an actor of Johnson's profile was being used as a villain and supporting character in the film instead of starring in it. Following that meeting, they decided to split the project into two films: Shazam! (2019), starring the hero Captain Marvel who DC had since rebranded as Shazam; and Black Adam, with Johnson starring as the title antihero.[1] Johnson said the two characters would meet onscreen in the future.[23] Johns confirmed in July that Johnson would not appear in Shazam!,[24] though his likeness is used in that film for a magical holograph of Black Adam conjured by the wizard Shazam.[25]

Adam Sztykiel was hired to write the screenplay for Black Adam in October 2017, with Johnson set to produce the film with Dany and Hiram Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions along with Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo.[26][27] At that time, there were plans for Johnson to first appear as Black Adam in the sequel to Suicide Squad (2016), which had Gavin O'Connor attached as writer and possible director. The intention was for the members of the Suicide Squad to be tracking a weapon of mass destruction which would be revealed as Black Adam in a small role for Johnson,[28] but these plans were abandoned when O'Connor left that film in 2018.[29] Sztykiel completed a draft of the Black Adam script by April 2018, when Johnson said there was potential for filming to begin in 2019.[30] At the end of August, Sztykiel had handed in another draft and further revisions were underway. Hiram Garcia said then that giving Shazam and Black Adam their own films was allowing the best movie for each character to be developed, and he added that their depiction of Black Adam was not going to be "softened up for audiences", explaining that he is "not the boy scout superhero, he's the guy that's like, okay, you cross him? Well, I rip your head off".[31] In December, Johnson said filming would not begin until the end of 2019 at the earliest due to his commitments to Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) and Red Notice (2021).[32]

After the successful release of Shazam!, Black Adam became a priority for New Line. By June 2019, Jaume Collet-Serra was in talks to direct the film after impressing Johnson as the director of Jungle Cruise (2021).[27] Collet-Serra described Black Adam as the Dirty Harry of superheroes, and said the film would show a darker version of Johnson compared to the adventure comedy Jungle Cruise.[33] Johnson revealed in October that filming would begin in July 2020,[34] and announced the following month that Black Adam was scheduled to be released on December 22, 2021.[35] He also said Shazam would not appear in the film, but members of the Justice Society of America (JSA) would be introduced.[36]

Pre-production[edit]

Johnson stated in mid-April 2020 that filming had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were now planning to begin production in August or September of that year.[37] By July, filming was expected to begin in early 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia,[38][7] and Noah Centineo was cast as Atom Smasher.[5] During the virtual DC FanDome event in August, Johnson revealed that the film's version of the JSA would include Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone, in addition to Atom Smasher.[2] He explained that Hawkgirl was originally included in the team, but for a complicated reason she ultimately could not be used in the film and was replaced with Cyclone.[39]

Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani had written a new draft of the script by September,[3] when Aldis Hodge was cast as Hawkman.[3][4] The next month, Warner Bros. adjusted their upcoming release schedule due to the pandemic, leaving Black Adam without a release date.[40] Later in October, Sarah Shahi joined the cast as Adrianna Tomaz.[6] Quintessa Swindell was cast as Cyclone in December,[8] with Marwan Kenzari joining the cast in February 2021.[7] Filming was expected to begin that April,[7] with construction of the sets beginning by mid-March.[41] Pierce Brosnan was cast as Kent Nelson / Doctor Fate at the end of March,[10] and the film was given a new release date of July 29, 2022.[42] In April, James Cusati-Moyer, Bodhi Sabongui, Mo Amer, and Uli Latukefu joined the cast in undisclosed roles.[12][9][13][14] Latukefu previously worked with Johnson on the series Young Rock,[14] while Sabongui's character was described as a key role from the Black Adam comics.[9]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on April 10, 2021, at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia,[43][44] with Lawrence Sher serving as cinematographer.[45] Filming was delayed from an initial July 2020 start due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[34][37] Johnson said on June 20, 2021, that there were three weeks left of filming,[46] and on July 15 he announced that he had completed his scenes.[47] Filming then continued without Johnson for several weeks, with the production moving to Los Angeles,[48] and had wrapped by August 15.[49]

Post-production[edit]

Bill Westenhofer serves as the visual effects supervisor for the film, after doing so for the DCEU film Wonder Woman (2017),[50][51] while John Lee is the editor.[52][53] In March 2022, Warner Bros. adjusted its release schedule due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the workload of visual effects vendors. Black Adam was pushed back to October 21, 2022, with The Flash and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom moved from late 2022 into 2023 to allow time for their visual effects work to be completed.[54] The delay for Black Adam was also reportedly due to reshoots that were scheduled for February 2022 having to be postponed because most of the studio space at Trilith was being taken up by production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023). Once shooting for that film ended,[55] reshoots for Black Adam began in early May,[56] and had concluded early the next month.[57]

Marketing[edit]

Johnson promoted the film at the virtual DC FanDome event in August 2020, revealing concept art and narrating an animated teaser for the film as well as announcing which members of the JSA would be appearing.[2] The film's new July 2022 release date was announced on March 28, 2021, with another teaser narrated by Johnson that was aired ahead of an NCAA Basketball Regional Semifinal game and also announced during a "takeover" of New York's Times Square. Carly Lane at Collider described the Times Square event as thrilling,[58] while CNET's Mark Serrels said "booming it over a giant speaker in Times Square" was a "very cool way to announce a movie's release date".[59] The film was promoted at the 2021 DC FanDome in October, with Johnson revealing an opening scene for the film introducing himself as Black Adam. Tom Reimann of Collider was excited to finally see footage from the film after its long development history, and said "looks like Dwayne Johnson in a superhero movie, which is to say it looks awesome".[60] Both The Wrap's Ross A. Lincoln and The A.V. Club's William Hughes highlighted the short scene's violence,[61][62] while Matt Patches at Polygon compared the footage's tone to the Mummy franchise.[63]

In February 2022, more footage from the film was released as part of a showreel for Warner Bros.' 2022 slate of DC films, which also included The Batman, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (before the last two were delayed to 2023 in March).[64][54] Johnson, Centineo, and Swindell promoted the film at Warner Bros.' CinemaCon panel in April 2022, where a teaser trailer was launched.[65] The first official trailer was released on June 8, featuring an orchestral remix of Kanye West and Jay-Z's song "Murder to Excellence" (2011).[66][67][68] Jennifer Bisset at CNET wrote that the trailer posed Black Adam as a character who "must choose between being a hero or villain -- and it looks like he takes the darker path, judging by his take on the question of whether heroes kill people".[69] Both Maggie Lovvit from Collider and Charles Pulliam-Moore from The Verge also noted Adam's brutality in the trailer. Pulliam-Moore felt that the death of Adam's son "radicalizes him and emboldens him to use his newfound powers to seek a kind of justice so brutal that those around him are forced to lock him away". Lovvit opined that Adam's morality exists "within the grey area between black and white" and was excited at seeing the character's future in the DCEU.[70][71] Writing for IGN, Rosie Knight also felt that it showed Adam's "tragic" backstory, speculating that it could take inspiration from the New 52 iteration of the character, and that it would determine his future actions.[72]

DC Comics is set to publish a series of one-shots focusing on each member of the Justice Society of America (JSA), titled Black Adam - The Justice Society Files, beginning on July 5 and concluding on October 4. Each issue will also feature a variant cover of the JSA members as they are depicted in the film.[73]

Release[edit]

Black Adam is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on October 21, 2022,[54] and will be available to stream on HBO Max 45 days later.[74] It was originally set for release on December 22, 2021,[35] but was moved from that date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[40] It was then given a July 29, 2022, release date,[42] but was moved to the October 2022 date when Warner Bros. adjusted its release schedule due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the workload of visual effects vendors.[54]

Future[edit]

In April 2017, Johnson said that he and DC intended for Black Adam and Shazam to appear in a future film together.[23] Henry Cavill, who portrays Superman in the DCEU, said in April 2018 that there were plans for Johnson's Black Adam to face off against Superman in a future DCEU film after Black Adam and Shazam meet.[75] Dany Garcia stated in May 2021 that Johnson and the other producers planned to make multiple Black Adam films during their "long-term relationship with DC",[76] and Hiram Garcia reiterated in July that there was potential for Cavill and Johnson to appear in a future project together as Superman and Black Adam.[77] That November, Hiram elaborated that they already had an outline for future films and spin-offs featuring Black Adam and the JSA that would be dependent on the first film being a success,[78] and added that other characters beyond Shazam and Superman were being considered as potential future rivals for Black Adam such as Wonder Woman.[79]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]