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The Rock leveraged his immense physicality into an impressive career in the ring and on the big screen. While his output has an increasing amount of critics, the number of box office hits in his filmography tells a story. This fall, Dwayne Johnson will star DC’s Black Adam, for which he earned an impressive salaryIn a strange year for the film industry, the studio is betting a large amount of money on the Rock’s ability to bring people back to theaters. 

‘Black Adam’ is made differently than most comic book adaptations 

dwayne johnson black adam salary
Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson promoting his upcoming film “Black Adam” at 2022 Comic-Con International Day 3 at San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California. | Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

One of the things that makes comic book movies such an appealing genre to studios is the increased amount of control they have over the IP. The stories and characters have a history well beyond any actor who portrays them. Black Adam is a much different case as the upcoming film is made for and by Johnson. 

The titular character is an ancient antihero released from imprisonment after 5,000 years into modern times. The movie is set in the same universe as 2019’s Shazam! and Adam will go on to be that hero’s chief villain in future projects. Johnson’s interest in the character is longstanding. He talked to Slashfilm in 2007 about his desire to play Black Adam. And he continued to pursue the part even as his stardom grew and the movie stalled in the development phase. 

The finished version is a Johnson vehicle through and through. Not only is he the movie’s lead, his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, was involved in the making of Black Adam. The film’s director, Jaume Collet-Serra, also worked with Johnson on 2021’s Jungle Cruise. 

The Rock is being paid like his talents are worth their weight in gold. According to a Variety article about the most recent paydays for movie stars, Dwayne Johnson landed a $22.5 million salary for Black Adam. “Most actors aren’t worth what you pay them, but [Tom] Cruise and maybe Dwayne Johnson justify their salaries,” said an unnamed studio executive in the piece. Johnson’s financial successes are impressive. But there are suggestions that his fans are beginning to get sick of his acting persona. 

His movies are often lucrative, but skepticism around his acting merits is growing

Johnson is one of the few legitimate movie stars left in Hollywood. Few could say they saw it coming.  

His acting career was treated like a joke for a decade. In the early 2000s, he was just another wrestler making schlocky action movies no one remembers. (Although The Scorpion King did stick in the mind of Jordan Peele long enough to be referenced in Nope.) The turnaround in his trajectory is remarkable. According to The Numbers, movies with Johnson in either a lead or supporting role have grossed over $10 billion worldwide. 

But people have begun to notice that most of his characters are broadly the same guy in slightly different contexts. His frame makes it difficult to imagine him in more down-to-Earth roles — or get into cars. So a lot of his films come off as vanity projects. In live-action movies, he’s either positioned as an extraordinary man capable of saving people from “realistic” scenarios (The Fast and Furious movies, San Andreas, Skyscraper) or he’s in a comedy with Kevin Hart where the joke often involves the disparity in their body types. It also doesn’t help that he’s constantly working or that he’s toyed with the idea of a presidential run in the future. The fatigue is understandable. 

There’s also the fact that the majority of the films he stars in age like milk in a power outage. But the bad reviews haven’t stopped him from making tons of money. Audiences love to smell what the Rock is cooking, regardless of the aftertaste.

The Rock’s various business interests made him a rich man


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Per Celebrity Net Worth, Johnson’s value currently sits at $800 million. 

It’s now common for him to make over $100 million in a year between his film salaries and various endorsement deals, and his calculated returns to the wrestling ring are surely good for his bank account. 

Johnson is also a part-owner of Teremana Tequila. The exact percentage of his ownership isn’t known, but Teremana sells more units than Casamigos, the brand formerly owned by George Clooney that was sold for $1 billion in 2017.