Dwayne Johnson Career “Damaged” by Disney

in Disney, Entertainment

Dwayne Johnson looking to the right

Credit: ABC

Actor Dwayne Johnson has had a remarkable career in Hollywood, without a doubt. That doesn’t mean everything has gone perfectly, though.

Dwayne Johnson, commonly known as “The Rock,” is a multi-talented actor, producer, and former professional wrestler who has become one of Hollywood’s most beloved and bankable stars. Johnson’s career has been nothing short of remarkable. He began his journey in the world of professional wrestling, where he gained immense popularity in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). His charisma, athleticism, and larger-than-life persona quickly made him a fan favorite, and he became one of the most iconic figures in the wrestling world.

Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore in 'Ballers'
Credit: HBO

In the early 2000s, Dwayne Johnson made a successful transition from wrestling to acting. He marked his arrival in the film industry with roles in action-packed movies like The Mummy Returns (2001),  The Scorpion King (2002) and The Rundown (2003). His breakthrough came with the Fast & Furious franchise, where he portrayed the character of Luke Hobbs. His work in films like Fast Five (2011) and its sequels endeared him to audiences and solidified his status as a leading man in the action genre.

Dwayne Johnson’s association with Disney has also been a significant part of his career. He appeared in the family-friendly Disney film The Game Plan (2007), where he played a tough professional quarterback who discovers he has a daughter. Additionally, he lent his voice to the character of Maui in Disney’s animated hit, Moana (2016), and his charismatic performance as the demigod earned critical acclaim. Johnson’s ability to connect with both young and adult audiences has made him a valuable asset to Disney’s entertainment roster, further highlighting his versatility as an actor.

In 2021, Dwayne Johnson took on a role alongside Emily Blunt with high hopes of achieving greater recognition through Disney’s Jungle Cruise. However, the post-pandemic release of the movie left a bitter taste, as it suffered a significant setback, resulting in a staggering $151 million loss at the box office.

Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff in 'Jungle Cruise'
Credit: Disney

Reports indicated that the film needed to earn around $500 million globally to break even, factoring in the substantial costs of production and promotion, which amounted to $362 million. The disappointing performance of Jungle Cruise might have had a different outcome had it been released prior to the pandemic. Disney’s decision to simultaneously release films on its streaming platform contributed to the decline in viewership, as many opted to wait a few extra weeks to watch the project from home.

Despite the setback, the studio has already begun development on a sequel, although an official release date has yet to be disclosed. Unfortunately, Dwayne Johnson’s struggle for box office success continued when his role in DC’s Black Adam turned out to be a significant disappointment.

Black Adam marked one of DC Studios’ most critical and commercial failures in recent years, receiving a meager 38% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This outcome did not sit well with Warner Bros. executives, as the movie, initially expected to propel Dwayne Johnson to new heights of stardom, ultimately becoming the biggest career setback for the actor.

Dwayne Johnson wearing sunglasses
Credit: ABC

Interestingly enough, these two setbacks– particularly starting with Jungle Cruise— paved the way for some speculation surrounding Johnson’s box office ability. There’s no doubt that the actor is still one of the most beloved figures in Hollywood, but multiple reports have since come forward, sharing that studios aren’t as trusting of The Rock following those two commercial failures as they might have been in the past. As a matter of fact, one insider noted that Johnson is having a “tough time getting the green light” for future ideas.

In addition, another publication indicated that this may be a time for Johnson “to step aside” for other young actors who are making major strides in the entertainment industry.

“Today, Johnson can look behind him, figuratively speaking, and see the advance of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Jason Momoa, Chris Pratt, and others,” Movieweb shared. “As Johnson moves through his fifties, will he step aside, so to speak, for these actors, as Schwarzenegger did for Johnson, or will Johnson fight to maintain or reclaim his now fading standing as Hollywood’s, if not the world’s, top action film hero?”

Though these failures haven’t necessarily been kind to Dwayne Johnson, there is no consensus from fans that they are ready to see The Rock move on. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the contrary.

Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) holding an oar
Credit: Disney

The Rock is absolutely still one of the most beloved and iconic names in Hollywood. He’s set to reprise his role as Luke Hobbs in a future Fast & Furious installment and will play Maui in Disney’s live-action version of Moana. This Holiday season, you can catch him in The Red One (2023) alongside MCU star Chris Evans.

There’s still plenty left for Dwayne Johnson in entertainment, and once the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes come to an end, this writer believes Johnson will right the wrongs at the box office from his last two major films and prove just how valuable of a commodity he still is in the world of Hollywood today.

What do you think the future holds for Dwayne Johnson and his movie career? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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