×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Is Dwayne Johnson Hollywood’s Most Bankable Star?

With less than stellar reviews on top of an already cursed genre, it’s a wonder “Rampage” wasn’t a total flop at the box office.

Well, it’s not a total wonder. After back and forth projections showed “Rampage” wrestling with “A Quiet Place” to see who would come out on top at the box office last weekend, there is one main reason the video game adaptation secured the crown: Dwayne Johnson.

“It’s good old star power at work here,” box office analyst Jeff Bock said. “There’s not that many people in this day and age who can pull this off.”

Did Johnson break the video game adaptation curse? Probably not. Did his sheer star power push “Rampage” to the No. 1 spot at the worldwide box office? It seems likely.

“Rampage” bowed with $34.5 million in North America, along with an impressive $114 million overseas for a global total of $148.6 million. In China alone, the sci-fi fantasy made $55 million.

“If it’s anybody else in this film, it would tank. It would be lucky to get to $20 million if Dwayne Johnson wasn’t in in,” Bock said. “It gives you an idea of his power at the box office.”

It’s not necessarily a clear cut win, in North America at least, given the film’s $120 million budget. But compared to recent video game adaptations, “Rampage’s” opening is nothing to complain about. In March alone, Alicia Vikander’s “Tomb Raider” premiered with $23.6 million, while “Pacific Rim Uprising” debuted with $28 million. In fact, it only took a 50% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes to make “Rampage” the highest-rated of the video game adaptation movies.

“Audiences are tough on video game adaptations because they’ve performed so poorly in the past,” Bock explained.

It’s been a while since a tried and true movie star’s name has landed a movie alone. “That used to be reserved for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone,” Bock said.

That’s where Johnson steps in.

“He’s a global draw unlike anybody else today,” Jeff Goldstein, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said.

It’s a rare thing. Sure, there’s Leonardo DiCaprio, Melissa McCarthy, and Robert Downey Jr., but after that, the list of actors who can still reliably draw a crowd grows skimpy. Jennifer Lawrence was a big hit in “The Hunger Games,” but she couldn’t entice audiences to “Passengers,” “Mother” or “Red Sparrow.” Johnny Depp used to be a star attraction, but now he mostly generates headlines for his messy finances and domestic abuse allegations. And Will Smith recently ditched the big screen for Netflix’s “Bright.” It’s hard out there for an A-lister.

Johnson’s massive overseas following definitely plays a big part in the global success of his films.

“Domestic is important, but not as important as it once was,” Bock said. “That number of of China is outstanding. $55 million? You combine Dwayne Johnson and giant monsters — that’s exactly why the film was greenlit, for China.”

That’s not to say that every Johnson movie is a sure-fire hit. But even when a movie tanks, (a belated congratulations to the Rock for earning a Razzie Award for “Baywatch”) the charismatic performer admits it with grace.

“He owns every good movie and every bad movie. Audiences like that,” Bock said. “He just wants to entertain people. You can’t live and die with every movie you put out.”

The multi-hyphenate shows no sign of slowing his roll. His next, “Skyscraper,” has all the ingredients for a summer popcorn blockbuster. It’s also the rare summer movie that’s not part of a pre-existing franchise. Johnson is the big draw.

“If the Rock wants to do it, somebody is going to fund that project,” Bock said. “He could easily win the presidency as well. That’s easy. Being a true blockbuster movie star, that’s difficult.”

RELATED VIDEO

More Film

  • Cannes: Diao Yinan Explains His Artistic

    Diao Yinan on Cannes Pic 'Wild Goose Lake': 'I Try to Portray the Opposite of a Utopia'

    In competition in Cannes with “Wild Goose Lake,” director Diao Yinan explained Sunday why he’s fascinated by dark crime thrillers – and why his new film features dialogue in China’s Wuhan dialect. “Such thrillers are not only an exercise in style; they’re also full of dramatic tension, and when you combine style with dramatic tension, [...]

  • CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 18:

    Robert Pattinson, Shailene Woodley Attend Starry Vanity Fair Party in Cannes

    It’s true what they say about Batman being a loner. On Saturday night, Robert Pattinson made his first public appearance since being cast as the new Dark Knight at this year’s Vanity Fair Party in celebration of the Cannes Film Festival. But while all the other A-list guests mingled and worked the crowd at the [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson: 'The Lighthouse' Rehearsal Was a 'Pressure Cooker'

    Rehearsal for director Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” wasn’t as long as Robert Pattinson remembers. “I’ve never rehearsed like I rehearsed with Robert before,” Pattinson said at the first screening of the period thriller on Sunday morning. “We rehearsed for what, three weeks?” Actually, no—it was only one week! “One, but it felt like three to [...]

  • FilmSharks Scores Global Sales, Remake Rights

    FilmSharks Scores Intl. Sales-Remake Rights for Fernando Spiner’s ‘Immortal’

    Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks International has acquired global sales and remake rights to renowned Latin American genre director Fernando Spiner’s latest feature “Immortal,” which participated in this year’s Blood Window Showcase at the Cannes Film Market. Included in the deal, FilmSharks also picked up Spiner’s sci-fi catalog which includes “Sleepwalker” and “Adiós querida luna.” [...]

  • Dimitri Vegas

    Dimitri Vegas Talks 'Rambo V: Last Blood' Role, Working With Sylvester Stallone

    Dimitri Thivaios, better known as dance music’s Dimitri Vegas, is taking his skills beyond the DJ booth, picking up a major film role in the forthcoming “Rambo V: Last Blood.” The Belgium-born Thivaios, who headlines massive EDM festivals like Tomorrowland with his brother Michael (they perform under the banner Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike), has [...]

  • Japan's Toei Animation Teams With Saudi's

    Japan's Toei Animation Teams With Saudi's Manga Productions on 'The Journey'

    In an industry-building effort for Saudi Arabia, new Saudi animation studio Manga Productions has teamed up with Japan’s Toei Animation on a $10 million to $15 million animation feature titled “The Journey,” an epic based on Saudi folklore to be directed by Shizuno Kobun, whose credits include “Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle.”  Manga [...]

  • 'Joan of Arc' Review: Bruno Dumont's

    Cannes Film Review: 'Joan of Arc'

    You have to hand it to Bruno Dumont, France’s dark prince of dour auteurism: He never makes the same film twice, even when he does, to all intents and purposes, make the same film twice. Two years ago, he offered his own singular contribution to cinema’s well-stocked canon of Joan of Arc dramas: As a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content