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Universal Studios Group Ends Contract with Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Universal is parting ways with actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson this week, as the entertainment giant announced it has canceled its contract with the Hollywood star.

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dwayne johnson rides the jungle cruise attraction at disney park with crowd of people

Credit: Disney Parks

Dwayne Johnson is really good at a lot of things. The former wrestler started in the ring in 1996 and almost immediately became a WWE superstar. Known then by his ring name, The Rock, Johnson was widely regarded as one of World Wrestling Entertainment’s greatest professional wrestlers of all time, winning a long list of awards throughout his career in the ring.

His trophy cases and bragging rights are lavishly decorated with trophies, gold belts, and titles related to being a ten-time world champion wrestler, a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a Royal Rumble winner in 2000, and WWE’s sixth Triple Crown Champion. But Johnson left it all behind in 2004 when he stepped away from the world of professional wrestling to pursue a career in Hollywood.

The decision came following the success of his first film, The Mummy Returns (2001), in which Johnson played the Scorpion King opposite actor Brendan Fraser.

dwayne johnson in the mummy returns

Credit: Universal

Since that time, Dwayne Johnson has made a name for himself in Hollywood as a very capable and accomplished actor, having been cast in some of Hollywood’s most lucrative films and franchises, including The Scorpion King (2002), DOOM (2005), The Game Plan (2007), Get Smart (2008), Race to Witch Mountain (2009), Tooth Fairy (2010), Moana (2016), and Jungle Cruise (2021).

He has also played bounty hunter and federal agent Luke Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious film series for more than a decade, beginning with Fast Five (2011) and continuing with Fast and Furious 6 (2013), Furious 7 (2015), and The Fate of the Furious (2017). He also starred in Hobbs & Shaw (2019), a spin-off movie in the franchise, alongside actor Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw.

Dwayne Johnson To Return As Luke Hobbs For A New 'Fast And Furious' Movie

Credit: Universal

In 2019, Johnson announced his formal retirement as a professional wrestler, allowing him to focus the majority of his time and talents on his acting career and his movie house, Seven Bucks Productions. But recent developments have fans wondering if The Rock should give up the red carpet and get back in the ring.

Hollywood Looks Very Different Right Now

Though actors like Dwayne Johnson are the faces of today’s films, streaming series, and linear television shows, they are only as good as the delivery of their scripted lines. So when there are no scripts, actors, comedians, and late-night talk show hosts have nothing to say, quite literally. Such is the state of Hollywood in 2023.

Because of changes happening in the entertainment industry–many of them brought about by the rise in streaming, writers and actors in Hollywood are on strike. On May 1, after the deadline for a new contract passed with no agreement between writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), nearly 98% of the members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted to strike, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on May 2.

Just over two months later, on July 17, members of the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA, voted to strike as well, marking the first time in 63 years that both guilds have been on strike against the AMPTP. As of the time of this publication, negotiations remain unsuccessful, leaving more than 171,000 people on strike–11,500 WGA writers and 160,000 SAG-AFTRA actors.

And the strikes are taking a toll on Hollywood.

No More Late-Night Entertainment & Widespread Production Delays

Late-night talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon (NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) and Jimmy Kimmel (ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!) hail as comedians, each one brandishing his own unique kind of comedy. But behind the two comedians’ funny stories, quick wit, and humourous accounts of the day’s events are teams of writers who create the lines, the stories, and the quips delivered by both Fallon and Kimmel.

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But writers on strike means no writers creating quips. And that means no quips, which immediately means no Fallon and Kimmel. Or Saturday Night Live or Seth Meyers. The WGA strike effectively put a moratorium on late-night entertainment. But that was just the beginning.

The effects of the ongoing Hollywood strikes are now permeating nearly every arena of entertainment, including the film industry, as well as linear television and streaming, and there are no indications that an end to the strikes is even on the horizon.

The Fallout is Far-Reaching and Real

The inability and/or unwillingness of the parties to come to an agreement has led to a fallout in Hollywood, and entertainment and media organizations are feeling the strain of absentee writers and actors and are being forced to make difficult decisions. One of those decisions has led to Universal canceling Dwayne Johnson’s contract. But he’s not alone.

On Monday, NBCUniversal announced a slew of canceled deals and suspensions–each one having its roots in the fallout from the continuing strikes.

NBC Universal Logo Download - AI - All Vector Logo

Credit: Universal

Universal Studio Group, which includes Universal Television, Universal Content Productions, and Universal Pictures, contacted its remaining writing and producing partners, asking if they would contribute non-writing services. Partners who have active projects in progress and agreed to continue working were not affected, but partners who have already completed production, as well as those who did not agree to contribute non-writing services, were suspended on Monday.

Two of the most recognizable production companies affected by the move are Lorne Michaels’s Broadway Video Productions and Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions.

seven bucks productions logo

Credit: Seven Bucks Productions

The partnership between Universal Studios Group and Seven Bucks is no small one. Since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his ex-wife Dany Garcia founded the production house in 2012, Seven Bucks has produced a number of successful mainstream films and projects, including Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Universal’s Hobbs & Shaw, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Legendary’s Skyscraper, New Line’s Rampage, Universal’s Red Notice, Warner Brothers The King, and Netflix’s John Henry and The Statesmen.

Reeder's Movie Review: Jungle Cruise - Northwest Public Broadcasting

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” (2021)/Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Seven Bucks also produces original programming for linear television, like HBO’s Ballers, NBC’s The Titan Games, BET’s Finding Justice, Paramount Network’s Rock the Troops, and HBO Documentary Films’ Rock and a Hard Place.

Universal’s move follows a similar decision by Warner Bros. Discovery, which suspended its contracts with writers like J.J. Abrams, Mindy Kaling, Bill Lawrence, and Greg Berlanti last week. In a securities filing with the SEC on September 5, Warner Bros. revealed a projected $500 million loss as a result of the ongoing strikes in Hollywood.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

24 comments

  1. I honestly don’t know how all this works, but maybe this disruption will give way to a new way of doing things? Maybe independent actors will stand a real chance? We can already see it happening with the independent movement producing extremely entertaining movies and shows.

  2. This article…. “the rock is canceled. But not because of any fires! “

  3. I’m glad people are standing up for what needed and right is it hard on them yes we all need money but we have to look at the big picture and the future of our right, the Republicans and corporations won’t you to give in so they can pay you little for your true worth, stay strong, corporations make billions on their backs but dose not won’t to pay for them fairly I’m with them, pay them the same with all the people out on strike 👏🏿👍🏿

  4. So thankful that he is “canceled” I lost every ounce of respect that i had for him watching him begging along with the wicked witch of the east to his “fans” for money for Hawaii…. a billionaire and a multi millionaire begging people (most live under poverty level) for money. Im very sorry, but my family has enough trouble buying groceries and gas! Hollywood is a sham!

  5. Kimmie

    FACK, LADY… you can either give or not give.. LISTEN KAREN, I hate ppl like you that want to cancel ppl, that’s so silly “cancel him” I suggest cancel yourself Karen!! I don’t care for either of those ppl The Rock, and Oprah by damnn let it go woman, build a bridge m get over it! Very simple

  6. Haywood
    Why are you so mad when people point out the truth stop kissing celebrities ass it’s useless sacks of shit like you that are the reason why corrupt politicians and evil entitled celebrities get away with doing so much harm to the average working man and people.

  7. Why cancel The Rock. You racist bastards!

  8. Haywood, why don’t you build a bridge and jump. If people don’t share the same sentiment or opinion as you, you hate them and you don’t even know Kimmie. But we all know the billionaire class Oprah and the Rock both crying and bitchn they need money cause it will go to “one of Maui Many residents” which in this case happens to be Oprah. Haywood is the type to vote Biden cause he hates Trump.

  9. Rock sue for racism don’t let
    The networks use you.

  10. You don’t count why? Because ignorance is ignored.

  11. I love The Rock’s movies and you don’t hear about him out here using his finances for drugs and alcohol like many others. I think those that are able to help should. Maui was an amazingly beautiful place and I pray for all the people there. I’m sure many people with a lot of money have all ready donated. Just help from the heart is all. God bless

  12. Kathryn your ignorance irks what is showing. How the hell was it racist?! Was Kimmel and Meyers losing their spots racist too? Oh wait they’re white so they’re immune to racism so noooo… it was a business decision and all it shows is that they don’t pay action stars millions of dollars to not make movies. If that’s racist then I guess everyone with half a brain for business is also a racist then? I think your ignorance and trolling is on display here and the white lady crying racism should maybe stfu… even if you aren’t white which im betting you are this is still ignant af!

  13. Dawne Jean Mintzer

    THIS ENTIRE COUNTRY IS FALLING APART!!! HOMELESS PPL R MULTIPLING BY THE DAY!! HOLLYWOOD STARS DONT SUFFER FROM ANY STRIKE,ANY SUSPENSION OR ANYTHING THAT REQUIRES STRUGGLE!!! WAKE UP PPL!! GAS PRICES,GROCERY PRICES,CHILD CARE ITS ALL OVER PRICED!! SCHOOLS DONT TEACH KIDS HOW TO SAVE MONEY,,FIND A JOB OR SHOW RESPECT!! THEY TOOK GOD OUT OF SCHOOL & REPLACED IT WITH TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS!! TEACHERS TELL STUDENTS ITS OK TO EXPRESS UR FEELINGS ABOUT UR GENDER,IF UR A BOY,THEY SAY ITS OK IF U WANT TO BE A GIRL!! WTF??? TEACH KIDS ABOUT HOW TO SURVIVE IN THIS F*CKED UP COUNTRY!!! BRING GOD BACK INTO SCHOOL!!

  14. Why do ppl like “MattyIce” pretend the white race is racist against itself when someone, logically, suspects the white race is being racist against another race they have an historical pattern of being racist against? Every day White people prove themselves to be Esau Idumea Edom. 🤦🏾‍♀️

  15. If I never saw Dewayne McSteroids (yes he does) in another movie again I would not lose any sleep over it.

  16. YouMoanToMuchAmerica

    The Democrats are in charge of this country and the Bidenomics are not working so much even actors are demanding more money. In case Ronald forgot who is running the economy. The Rock has done videos he knows it’s not racism just business BTW the company that fired him is very Left leaning, unless you are saying the Left and the Democrats are racist? Are you Kathryn.

  17. Dawne jean mintzer, I couldnt agree with u more…ur reply was exactly right, I wish more ppl focused on important things then calling ppl names & making ugly comments… kudos to u…. I hope u have a blessed day

  18. This is exactly why I’m sitting here saying No God. Ppl say there is no need for God. It doesn’t exist. Well it definitely shows here in America. Too much freedom and no moral order. Y’all up here cussing folks out and don’t even know them! Get a life. Find a path. Find God and you’ll see peace. Cause if you do, you’ll see why what you’re arguing about is stupid. Go help someone and STHU. Literally.

  19. This sounds like to me is payback for something retribution. It doesn’t give any explanation as to why but it seems like it is retribution for something they might have canceled in but somebody else will pick him up he’s that good

  20. Bahahaha I love it, Ronald, haywood and Kathryn are by far the best example of why people are leaving the democrats in droves. They’re by far the best republican recruiters in the country, all they have to do is start typing and normal people flee. Deranged accusations of everything being racist and those darn Republicans fault. Those career democrats of 40 plus years are all so innocent. Child minded imbeciles.

  21. Everyone that is saying racist is dumb as h*ll and need a reality check. Everyone saying this is the Republicans work need to study who really owns these businesses which are actually for a fact left leaning people and democrats. Everyone who likes the rock should try to understand at least a little of what he did to become what he became. (Eat children literally and eat their blood to get adrenachrome) it doesn’t matter white or black, everyone in Hollywood is done for and is like this and no matter if you do not believe or if u do it won’t matter.

  22. Probably cause òf the Maui situation. He don’t need Hollywood he already made tons of money from taking it from others.

  23. So many people here are so politically charged over this for no reason. When a strike happens, any contracts previously enacted are canceled. It’s the SOP. There’s nothing racist happening here, just business as usual, which Dwayne Johnson would understand. He’s been under contracts before with the WWE for years. He made good money, got the fan adulation artsy people like him crave. All without a union.

  24. you’re all clueless. aren’t you noticing something bigger here?

    our country is in a spiritual war every bit as dangerous and deadly as any other war. Hollywood is all but boarded up and your fakenews is never gonna show you the evidence. you will either have to go there or find sources telling the truth. Rodeo drive is closed and you can’t blame it on the looters. Those places pay top dollar for security. The reason they all closed is because there’s no one left to buy those high priced trinkets. THEY HAVE ALL BEEN JAILED AT GITMO or hung by the neck until dead. The problem with getting blackmailed to be a star or anyone of influence and power in that place is that it never stops taking. Most of EVERYONE in any job position including the big stars HAD to play their part in the human trafficking business. Don’t doubt me on this. So in the end – “The Rock” and “Oprah” and any other movers and shakers living in that place in Maui – and didn’t get touched by those D.E.Weapons? – They are all busted and The Rock is on the list and what’s left of Hollywood KNOWS ALL THIS – but will never tell you because it is a conflict of interest. The Q Plan To Save The World Is Real. Say your prayers everyday that that statement is 100 percent true because let’s face it – YOU little america – you never have a plan. all you do is finance all the evil that comes back at you and your children. You’re all the real Kingpins of the organized crime racket run out of Washington. Your tax money remember? All that money pissed away on a satanic country as Ukraine. You nitwits are gonna finally learn how many bio weapons labs Pedo Joe and Fauci and Gates owned on thousands of acres of ranches all sitting on top of a 300 million dollar human trafficking hub 10 miles down. Take all this and either flush it – shove it or use your critical thinking skills and start looking around and realizing that NOTHING is as it should be in this world. Do you all really think this is normal? If you do you can’t be helped.

    “I don’t expect a lot of you to ever take me serious but it’s a win if I simply make you curious.” -Ren