Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may very well be the only pure blood movie star out there today. That’s not to say he’s the last of his kind, but right now, no one is able to generate ticket sales as consistently as him.
Eight of his last 10 films have grossed at least $215 million worldwide, with five of them surpassing $500 million and two of them crossing the $1 billion mark. Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle blew away all expectations when it took in $950 million worldwide. Not even the stumble of the lousy Baywatch last May has halted his box office momentum much.
Simply put: Johnson has earned his megabucks paychecks.
But can he keep the good times rolling with Warner Bros. and New Line’s Rampage?
Hitting theaters this weekend, tracking numbers—which can be notoriously inaccurate at times—peg Rampage for a domestic opening between $35 million and $40 million against a reported $115 million budget. For a quick comparison, Black Panther’s projections ranged anywhere between $85 million and $165 million before dominating with $200 million-plus while Justice League came in under expectations with $93 million, so you never really know.
What is more important than Rampage‘s North American box office take is how it plays overseas.
Johnson leads the movie as a biologist who must save the day when a mysterious chemical transforms a gorilla, a wolf and a crocodile into massive city-destroying beasts. These types of smash ’em monster movies typically play well in the growing markets of Asia, though foreign receipts are no sure thing.
Pacific Rim: Uprising, which featured giant robots fighting giant monsters, opened to a strong global take of $150 million last month but then fell off a cliff thanks to mixed-to-negative reviews. It now sits at $262 million and will likely take an overall loss.
Another point of reference for Rampage might be WB’s Kong: Skull Island, which took in a massive $168 million in China and $566.6 million worldwide. However, that feature leveraged its King Kong brand awareness to a domestic opening of $61 million. Rampage isn’t nearly as known of a commodity as it’s based on a video game from the 1980s, but Johnson’s star power and the film’s effects-heavy nature could push it up a bit.
Typically, studios like to triple the production budgets of their films at the box office, so Warner Bros. would likely be happy with a worldwide haul of $400 million.
Full disclosure: I’m completely biased when it comes to the financial success of Rampage because it may lead to me hanging out with The Rock. No shame.