- Dwayne Johnson’s film career has been wavering recently.
- He struggled at the box office since leaving the Fast & Furious franchise.
- Johnson acknowledged this fact when he decided to set aside his reported feud with Vin Diesel to return to the franchise.
Dwayne Johnson is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, but a closer look will reveal why his high-profile career has been wavering recently. Johnson’s film career can be clearly demarcated into before and after Fast Five. The ensemble film played a crucial role in launching the Rock’s career, and he has been struggling at the box office since leaving the franchise.
Johnson also acknowledged this fact when he decided to set aside his reported feud with Vin Diesel and return to the franchise. His recent big failures, combined with his Fast & Furious return, highlight the vulnerable state of the Rampage star’s career.
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Dwayne Johnson’s Career Before And After Fast & Furious Is Less Than Stellar
Dwayne Johnson debuted in The Mummy Returns in 2001, and he later starred in the modestly successful spin-off of the franchise, The Scorpion King. Johnson had a number of box office failures following his debut starring role. The Red Notice actor later featured in some kids & family movies, which were more successful than his action or comedy roles. His biggest hit during this period was Get Smart, where he played a supporting role to Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway.
However, Fast Five changed everything for The Rundown actor. Johnson was averaging $112.6 million at the box office with his earlier films, but after Fast Five, this number drastically changed to $446 million for the next 25 films (via ScreenRant). The surge in Johnson’s box office was most visible in his family movie, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which surprisingly grossed $318.1 million.
One largely visible pattern in Dwayne Johnson’s box office success post-Fast Five was the abundance of ensemble films. Johnson’s highest-grossing movies were all either Fast & Furious movies or other ensemble films. His top-grossing film to date is the 2015 film, Furious 7, which grossed $1.5 billion worldwide, according to Numbers. This data points to the fact that his biggest solo movies haven’t been as successful.
However, it also doesn’t challenge the Faster actor’s status as a bankable star. San Andreas’ $456.3 million success and Hercules’ $243.4 million success entirely came from Johnson’s star power. However, his solo hits are not comparable to the other big shots like Tom Cruise or Robert Downey Jr. The lack of a blockbuster solo hit film and the recent big flops like Black Adam and Jungle Cruise show that Johnson’s ability to draw a crowd is limited.
Johnson even struggled to carry a franchise movie outside of the Fast & Furious movies despite his several attempts. Johnson seems to have understood this pattern as he has finally returned to the Vin Diesel-led franchise.
What Does Dwayne Johnson’s Return Mean To Fast & Furious?
While the role of Fast & Furious in Dwayne Johnson’s career is crucial, it is also notable that the franchise took off after Johnson’s arrival. Before the DC actor’s arrival, the biggest hit in the franchise was the fourth film, Fast & Furious, grossing a comparably modest $359 million at the box office. Johnson’s introduction as Luke Hobbs in Fast Five put the franchise in top gear, as the film grossed a whopping $629.9 million.
The franchise also experienced a decline in its allure after Johnson’s departure, reportedly due to a feud with co-star Vin Diesel. With Johnson’s return teased in the latest film, Fast X, the further films in the franchise are expected to get a boost. Johnson is also admitting his defeat, considering his biggest theatrical hit outside an ensemble came in Hobbs & Shaw, which further ties his career success back to the franchise.