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Black Adam was close to being R-rated

Black Adam was nearly made into an R-rated movie, but Dwayne Johnson's reputation for family friendly movies prevented it from happening

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam

Black Adam could have been an R-rated superhero movie, but for Dwayne Johnson’s influence. The latest DC movie, Black Adam, has finally been released with Dwayne Johnson in the titular role as the powerful anti-hero.

The action movie has been stuck in development for a long, long period of time, and is a passion project of Dwayne Johnson’s, who has promised to shake-up the ‘hierarchy of power’ within the DCEU. True to his word, the movie saw the re-introduction of Henry Cavill’s Superman, bringing him back into the fold after being frozen out of DCEU plans for half a decade.

That raises the prospect of some sort of action-packed crossover event between the two, either in Black Adam 2, Man of Steel 2, or a dedicated ‘versus’ movie like Batman v Superman. With the immense power of the two DC characters, it could end up being a violent and bloody affair – especially because Black Adam itself was almost a lot more brutal.

Michael L. Sale, who was the editor for the superhero thriller movie, spoke to Screen Rant about the prospect of an R-rated Black Adam, saying that it was much closer to happening than most fans might think. He said “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.”

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He then continued, sharing the reason why that didn’t end up happening. Sale said “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?”

That’s all fair enough, and certainly makes sense from a strategic perspective. But, we can’t help but feel as if Black Adam may have benefited from a more mature approach. The movie could have embraced it’s darker side, and especially when you have an anti-hero like Black Adam, could have been much more violent. Instead, the result was that Black Adam tried to have the best of both worlds and didn’t really succeed at either being a gritty superhero movie, or a family-friendly movie.

It’s also surprising that after the financial success of Joker, an R-rated DC movie, the studio was unwilling to have another go at pushing that boundary. Either way, if we’re lucky, Black Adam 2 might be able to have a bit more fun with the violent action. For more on Black Adam, check out our guide to the crown of Sabbac.