It was a hot race for the #1 spot at the box office this weekend: would A Quiet Place, the horror phenomenon of the year, carry that incredible word of mouth through to a second week at number one, or would Rampage come out roaring? Under typical circumstances, it seems inconceivable that, in 2018, an adaptation of a video game featuring a giant gorilla as a central story point would have any real shot at box office success. Yet Rampage managed to be the most successful film of the weekend, grossing over $34.5m domestically despite mixed reviews. Once again, we bore witness to the indomitable power of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Rampage has already made over $148m worldwide from a $120m budget. For a film like this, with a release date set two weeks before the juggernaut of Avengers: Infinity War, those are some incredible numbers. They're also par for the course with Johnson. Last year, to the surprise of basically everyone, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became the 5th highest grossing film of 2017. With over $953m in the bank, it out-grossed Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman. This was the second film Johnson had on the top 10 highest grossing titles of the year, as The Fate of the Furious passed $1.2bn. While Baywatch didn't set the domestic box office alight, it still took in $177m worldwide - turning a modest profit from its $69 million production budget.
There's no question that Johnson is a good luck charm for just about any movie he stars in, so let's break down how the WWE Superstar became a Hollywood superstar.
Is Dwayne Johnson Hollywood's Most Bankable Actor?
Take a trip through Johnson's filmography of the past five years and you'll see the receipts of a bona fide movie-star. Johnson is a rarity in modern Hollywood: an actor whose name recognition is strong enough by itself to move audiences to the theaters. His induction into the Fast and Furious franchise coincides with its evolution into a worldwide box office phenomenon. 2015's generic disaster movie San Andreas grossed $474m from a $110m budget. The 2016 comedy Central Intelligence was another hit, with a $217m gross, while his voice work in Moana helped that Disney film to soar past $643m worldwide. Dwayne Johnson is so good at this money-making thing that he managed get Hercules to break even.
We could spend the next few paragraphs extensively documenting his box office prowess, but the end message would be the same: Not only is Dwayne Johnson arguably the most bankable star in Hollywood, but he can now essentially sell just about any movie - whether he's hanging out with a giant CGI gorilla, or wearing a cape made out of a lion.
While there are plenty of famous actors in Hollywood, movie stars in the old-fashioned sense of the word have become thin on the ground. Tom Cruise is frequently cited as one of the few actors left who can lend the golden touch to any movie he leads, but Johnson's recent track record is arguably even stronger than Cruise's - especially given how risky some of his chosen projects have been. So what is it about The Rock that people just can't resist?
- Rampage (2018) release date: Apr 13, 2018