7:59am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: Dwayne Johnson's 'Rampage' Beats 'A Quiet Place' After All With $35.8M
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 $35.8 million from 4,101 theaters, one of the best showings ever for a video game adaptation — a challenged genre — and enough to win the weekend ahead of holdover horror sensation A Quiet Place, according to final numbers. Still, that was on the very low end of expectations. 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).
Final numbers for the weekend showed Rampage coming in ahead of Sunday's estimates, which had put the movie's domestic tally at $34.5 million and global bow at $148.6 million.
Overseas, Rampage roared loudly in China, biting off $55.2 million for a foreign debut of $115.7 million and solid global start of $151.5 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 showtimes to Rampage, fell 53 percent over the weekend to $11.5 million for a domestic tally of $114.9 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).
"Dwayne Johnson is the real deal. He's a closer," says Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein.
Paramount's high-concept horror film A Quiet Place continued to defy expectations in its sophomore outing, earning $33 and jumping the $100 million mark domestically. The $17 million movie — sure to generate huge profits — fell a scant 35 percent. It also is doing horrifyingly well internationally, earning $22.3 million in its second weekend for a foreign cume of $51.7 million and nearly $152 million worldwide.
A Quiet Place wasn't the only horror pic to do scary business, thanks to a strong turnout among younger moviegoers.
Truth or Dare, the latest microbudget collaboration from Universal and Blumhouse, opened to a strong $19.2 million in the U.S. The supernatural thriller — which hit theaters on Friday the 13th — revolves around a group of spring breakers who play an innocent game of Truth or Dare that turns deadly. Directed by Jeff Wadlow, the film stars Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey.
"We found our lane. Younger females came out in droves. We also leaned into our Friday the 13th release date," says Universal domestic distribution president Jim Orr, noting that females made up 60 percent of ticket buyers, while 60 percent of the audience was under the age of 25.
Truth or Dare placed No. 3, followed by Ready Player One. Universal's R-rated comedy Blockers rounded out the top five with $10.3 million for a tepid 10-day domestic cume of $36.9 million.
Among other new offerings, the animated indie film Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero couldn't find its stride, opening to just $1.1 million from 1,633 theaters.
At the specialty box office, Bleecker Street's Middle East political thriller Beirut, starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike, grossed $1.7 million from 754 theaters for a five-day debut of $2.2 million (it opened on Wednesday). Previously titled High Wire Act, the film centers on a top U.S. diplomat (Hamm) who leaves Lebanon in the 1970s after his wife is killed. Bard Anderson directed from a script by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Legacy).
Documentary filmmaker Sophie Fiennes' Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami scored an enviable per-theater average of $20,147 upon debuting in three theaters. The doc premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
Chloe Zhao's 2017 Cannes entry The Rider launched to $45,268 from three theaters for a screen average of $15,089. Sony Pictures Classics is handling the modern-day Western in the U.S.
Among specialty holdovers, Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs moved up to No. 7 as it expanded into a total of 1,939 theaters. The Fox Searchlight film earned $5 million for a domestic tally of $18.5 million.
April 15, 11 a.m. Updated with additional foreign grosses.
April 16, 9 a.m. Updated with final weekend numbers.