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Who doesn’t love a good disaster movie — especially when it stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
New Line and Warner Bros.’ San Andreas rocked the North American box office this weekend with a better-than-expected $53.2 million after earning an A- CinemaScore from audiences happy to be jolted again and again. (In real life, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hundreds of miles off the coast of Japan on Saturday evening was felt in much of the country.)
San Andreas also rocked the foreign box office, grossing an impressive $60 million from 60 markets for a global bow of $113.2 million. Earthquake-prone Mexico led overseas with $10 million, the top opening of all time in that country for a disaster movie and the second-biggest debut for a Warners title.
Also offshore, Melissa McCarthy‘s Spy continued to impress in the Asia-Pacific region, where it opened ahead of its June 5 debut in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The Fox comedy, directed by Paul Feig, earned another $9 million from 10 markets for an early foreign total of $27.8 million, including $11.4 in South Korea.
San Andreas, which harkens back to the old Irwin Allen disaster flicks of the ‘70s, easily claimed the top spot worldwide — as well as delivering Johnson his top domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise, and his highest ever for a title in which he is the solo lead. In San Andreas, Johnson plays a helicopter pilot called upon to execute multiple nick-of-time rescues. Warners and Village Roadshow co-financed and co-produced the $110 million production, from Warners‘ New Line unit.
The disaster film teams Johnson with director Brad Peyton, who also guided the actor through 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and producer Beau Flynn, who produced both Journey 2 and Johnson’s 2014 Hercules. Lost‘s Carlton Cuse penned the screenplay from a story by Andre Fabrizio and Jerry Passmore. Also appearing in the film are Carla Gugino and Paul Giamatti.
San Andreas skewed slightly female (51 percent), while 70 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25. Revenue from 3D locations made up 33 percent of the overall haul.
“Dwayne Johnson is a four-quadrant, larger-than-life movie star. He works like no one else I’ve ever seen,” said Warners domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman, noting he was even surprised at the female turnout.
Cameron Crowe‘s romantic dramedy Aloha, the weekend’s other new offering, wasn’t so lucky despite its star-studded cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams). The film debuted to $10 million, the lowest opening of summer to date for a major studio release and only enough for a sixth-place finish. Females made up 64 percent of the audience.
Aloha is the first of Crowe’s films to be released in summer, when the pressure is much more intense to open to big numbers. Sony’s financial exposure on the film is minimized by having several partners, including New Regency, LStar Capital and RatPac Entertainment. Fox is handling the film internationally but doesn’t have a financial stake.
The Hawaii-set movie stars Cooper as a military contractor who falls for an Air Force pilot played by Stone, only to encounter a past lover in the form of McAdams.
“We’re happy with our opening,” said Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer. “It opened within the realm of our expectations and is a movie we’re proud of. Cameron Crowe always seems to touch upon that human element that makes people think and laugh, and the all-star cast is terrific. We believe the film will be around for may many weeks to come.”
It’s true that Crowe’s films don’t sport huge openings — his last film, We Bought a Zoo, debuted to $9.3 million over Christmas weekend in 2011 on its way to grossing $75.6 million domestically — but Aloha will have to overcome withering reviews and a B- CinemaScore from audiences, including a C+ among adults over the age 50, who made up 31 percent of the audience. Those between the ages of 25 and 34 liked it the best, giving it a B+.
Produced by Crowe and Scott Rudin, Aloha — which at one point was penciled in for a December 2014 release but was then moved into 2015 — cost at least $37 million after rebates. It has already had to withstand critical comments from former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, which were exposed in emails made public as part of the Sony hack.
Elsewhere, Universal’s Pitch Perfect 2 finished its third weekend with $14.8 million for a domestic total of $147.5 million. Overseas, the box-office sensation took in another $10.4 million from 46 markets for an international cume of $80.7 million to jump the $200 million mark worldwide with $228.2 million through Sunday.
Brad Bird‘s troubled Tomorrowland tumbled 58 percent to an estimated $13.8 million, putting its 10-day North American cume at $63.2 million. The $180 million Disney tentpole came in No. 3 domestically, while earning $29.3 million overseas from 75 territories for an international cume of $70 million and global cume of $133.2 million.
Mad Max: Fury Road placed No. 4 in its third outing with $13.6 million for a domestic total of $115.9 million.
Rounding out the top five in its fifth weekend was Disney and Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, which took in $10.9 million domestically and another $17.6 million internationally for a world total of $1.32 billion, including $225.5 million in China.
Elsewhere in the top 10, MGM and Fox 2000’s Poltergeist fell a steep 66 percent in its second outing to $7.8 million for a North American total of $38.3 million. Internationally, the horror remake took in $6.6 million from 41 markets for a foreign total of $19.1 million and global cume of $57.4 million.
At the specialty box office, Radius-TWC’s Heaven Knows What, about a young heroin addict on the streets of New York City, debuted to $15,032 in two theaters for a screen average of $15,032, the best of the weekend.
Bleecker Street continued to see nice results with I’ll See You in My Dreams, an older-skewing dramedy starring Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Malin Akerman, June Squibb and Rhea Perlman. Expanding into a total of 85 theaters, the film grossed $516,161 for a screen average of $6,072 and cume of $1 million.
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