Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Rampage’ Tops Box Office With $34.5 Million

On Friday afternoon, New Line’s Rampage appeared to be dropping like a rock at the U.S. box office, with first projections suggesting the big-budget movie might not earn much more than $28 million in its launch.

But thanks to the star power of Dwayne Johnson, Rampage made something of a recovery, opening to $34.5 million from 4,101 theaters, one of the best showings ever for a video game adaptation and enough to win the weekend ahead of holdover horror sensation A Quiet Place. That was still behind expectations, however. Heading into the weekend, tracking showed Rampage launching to $35 million to $40 million, compared to $54 million two years ago for New Line’s San Andreas, Johnson’s last non-ensemble movie (Brad Peyton directed both films).

Overseas, Rampage roared loudly in China, biting off $55 million for a foreign debut of $114.1 million and solid global start of $148.6 million. The movie, which cost at least $120 million to make before marketing, will need to have strong legs to earn its money back. Internationally, it is performing on par with San Andreas, including in China, where Rampage is the third-best Warners opener of all time behind Ready Player One and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

One formidable challenge everywhere will be Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, which opens April 27. Rampage had been slotted to open on April 20, but moved up its release when Infinity War relocated. Rampage’s new date meant that it debuted only two weeks after Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, likewise from Warner Bros.

Ready Player One, which gave up most Imax screens to Rampage, fell 54.5 percent over the weekend to $11.2 million for a domestic tally of $114.6 million (the previous weekend, it slipped 41 percent). Ready Player One remains a potent force overseas, where it took in $33.8 million for a foreign cume of $360.2 million and a worldwide tally of $474.8 million.

In Rampage, Johnson plays a primatologist whose beloved pal, an albino gorilla, is transformed into a giant menace as the result of a genetic experiment (there’s also a wolf and a crocodile involved). Naomie Harris co-stars. The movie comes on the heels of the blockbuster success of Johnson starrer Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which has grossed $950.9 million at the global box office after debuting to $36.2 million domestically.

Jumanji, like other Johnson films, enjoyed a huge multiple. New Line is hopeful Rampage, which nabbed an A- CinemaScore, will follow the same course, particularly if it attracts families, who made up 28 percent of the opening weekend audience, according to comScore. Overall, the film is skewing male (55 percent) and is playing to an ethnically diverse audience. Caucasians made up 43 percent of all ticket buyers, followed by Hispanics (22 percent), African-Americans (19 percent) and Asians/other (16 percent).

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Pamela McClintock