Movies Reviews

Black Adam Editor Explains Why Dwayne Johnson's Image Prevented The Movie Being R-Rated

While many fans would have loved to see Black Adam getting ultra-violent, Dwayne Johnson taking on the lead role meant it could never happen.


Although Dwayne Johnson is frequently seen beating up bad guys in his blockbuster movies, the actor has found himself a place in a number of family-friendly roles and that is where he wanted Black Adam to sit. According to the movie’s editor, Johnson was in fact the only reason that Black Adam did not join the small but growing number of R-rated DC offerings.


During the production of Black Adam, Dwayne Johnson frequently talked about the movie pushing the boundaries of what could be included in a PG-13 release, and the high body count logged in the movie did suggest that the brutal anti-hero could be heading for a higher rating. However, Black Adam did manage to scrape under the bar for no reason more than to make the movie open to Johnson’s huge fan base. Editor Michael L. Sale told Screen Rant:

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“What I was getting from the producers was that we wanted to ensure [it wasn’t too heavy]. It would’ve been easy to make an R-rated version of Black Adam, right? Personally, I would’ve loved it. I would’ve been like, “Oh, let him punch his hand through people. Go nuts,” right? I’m an old dude, and I’m a horror guy. I like all kinds of stuff. I would’ve been happy.

“There was a thing coming from the director and the producers that, “Hey, we want to make this movie for everybody. Dwayne’s got a huge fan base, and he has a family fan base.” For us, it wasn’t about keeping with any tone of DC, 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 edgy. But it’s also a movie you can take your kids with dad and mom, and you can watch. And it’s not going to be so horrifying that you feel bad,” right?

“I think the proof is in the pudding because this week, you saw families go and enjoy Black Adam in large numbers. I was really happy that we went in that direction. I think that’s what these movies are for. I think what it does is open up a whole path where DC has options now to do a lot of different things.”

Related: Black Adam’s Last Minute Surprise Cameo was Shot Differently Before Final Cut


Would an R-Rated Black Adam Work?

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Warner Bros Pictures

James Gunn has proven that there are certainly a lot of people out there who are more than happy with more mature comic book offerings within the DCU. However, while The Suicide Squad delivered something for adults only, Black Adam has seemingly positioned itself as a new starting point for the DCU as it attempt to build a more Marvel-like roadmap for its future and making that an R-rated movie would never have floated with the bosses at Warner Bros. Discovery.

While it doesn’t seem likely that we will get to see even an R-rated cut of Black Adam, there will be plenty of other R-rated and TV-MA content coming for those that want it, especially with James Gunn already having a handful of projects already in the works linked to The Suicide Squad. When it comes to Black Adam and his upcoming position in the DCU’s hierarchy, it looks like things will definitely be staying just the right side of PG-13 for the foreseeable future.

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