Every Dwayne Johnson Movie Franchise That Brendan Fraser Started In


Dwayne Johnson has an interesting connection to Brendan Fraser, with both actors having shared multiple franchises. Both actors are currently under the spotlight. Both men have had very different career paths. Johnson has made a name for himself as an action star, while Fraser has primarily focused on dramas and smaller-scale projects throughout the past decade, such as Darren Aronofsky’s movie The Whale. On paper, the actors appear to have nothing in common career-wise with one another, aside from the fact that both star in DC properties (Fraser portrays Robotman in HBO Max’s Doom Patrol and Johnson stars in Black Adam). However, there’s actually a curious link between their professional trajectories.


Throughout the 2000s, Brendan Fraser was involved in some prominent action franchises that unwittingly became the building blocks of Dwayne Johnson’s career. Johnson rose to prominence as an action star throughout the 2000s and 2010s, appearing in movies like The Mummy Returns, Doom, Get Smart, The Other Guys, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Coincidentally, three of his most high-profile roles during his rise to stardom were in properties that Fraser had previously been a part of.

Related: 1 Legacy Sequel Could Reunite The Rock & Brendan Fraser (Not The Mummy)

The Mummy/The Scorpion King

Brendan Fraser starred in The Mummy franchise as adventurer Rick O’Connell. Fraser played the character in three films, The Mummy (1999), The Mummy Returns (2001), and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008). The series’ second installment featured Dwayne Johnson in his second film role, playing the Scorpion King. With a reported budget of $98 million, The Mummy Returns became a financial success, earning $433 million worldwide. A year after the film was released, Johnson got his own spinoff in 2002’s The Scorpion King, his first role as a leading man. The movie became a modest hit, earning $178 million globally against a reported $60 million budget.

While not critically acclaimed, The Scorpion King served as a stepping stone for Johnson’s nascent movie career. The film also spawned a franchise, but Johnson did not reprise his role for any of The Scorpion King movies. However, Johnson did acknowledge Fraser’s contribution to his career following The Mummy star’s viral response to the reception of his film, The Whale. Johnson stated on Twitter: “Man, this makes me so happy to see this beautiful ovation for Brendan. He supported me coming into his ‘Mummy Returns’ franchise for my first ever role, which kicked off my Hollywood career. Rooting for all your success brother.”

Journey to the Center of the Earth

In 2008, Fraser starred in Journey to the Center of the Earth as Professor Trevor Anderson. Inspired by Jules Verne’s eponymous 1864 book, the film saw Fraser’s character embark on a dangerous expedition with his nephew, Sean (Josh Hutcherson), and fellow explorer Hannah (Anita Briem). The film found success at the box office, making $244 million worldwide on a $60 million budget. Its financial outcome opened the door for a sequel that would become 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. During the film’s development, Fraser wanted the director of the first Journey movie, Eric Brevig, to return for the second installment. At the time, however, Brevig was working on the 2011 Yogi Bear movie, starring Dan Aykroyd.

Warner Bros. wanted Journey 2 to be released in 2011 and so, the studio hired Brad Peyton (San Andreas, Rampage) to helm the project. As a result, Fraser opted not to return as Trevor Anderson. Instead, Dwayne Johnson was cast in the lead role. The actor portrayed Hank, the stepfather of Josh Hutcherson’s Sean. In an effort to bond with his stepson, Hank goes on an expedition alongside Sean, tour guides Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens), Gabato (Luis Guzmán), and Sean’s grandfather (and Trevor Anderson’s father), Alexander, played by Michael Caine. Journey 2 proved to be even more successful than its predecessor, raking in $335 million globally with a budget of $79 million.

Related: Journey 3 Updates: Why The Moon Sequel Isn’t Happening

G.I. Joe

Brendan Fraser made a cameo in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) as Sergeant Stone. The character was part of a training montage that saw Channing Tatum’s Duke face off against Snake Eyes as part of a fighting exercise. Fraser’s role was small but memorable, as he accurately conveyed the attitude of a seasoned military fighter. The film received a sequel in 2013, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, this time with Dwayne Johnson in the lead role of Roadblock.

Retaliation performed slightly better than its predecessor, earning $375 million worldwide against a production budget of $130 million. In comparison, The Rise of Cobra, which had a reported budget of $175 million, earned $302 million. Despite that, no sequel was made, and instead, the franchise was rebooted in 2021 with the Henry Golding-starring Snake Eyes movie. The connection between Dwayne Johnson and Brendan Fraser is an odd one. And it’s interesting to see how the Black Adam star, one of Hollywood’s most beloved performers, initially built his career with franchises associated with Brendan Fraser.

Next: The Whale Is Just The Beginning Of Brendan Fraser’s Comeback


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