‘San Andreas’ Rocks Box Office with $47 Million Debut, ‘Aloha’ Left in the Dust

30 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘San Andreas’ Eyes Seismic $48M Debut; ‘Aloha’ Bombing.

Warner Bros.’ “San Andreas” is no box office disaster, with the 3D action pic drawing $18.2 million on Friday, setting it on track for a weekend haul of $47 million at 3,777 locations and smashing past early estimates that put it around the $40 million mark.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” warns a scientist, while at the first scene of trouble someone barks, “get the hell out of there!” “Who should we call?” asks a worried reporter. “Everybody,” replies an expert.The earthquake disaster film, which harkens back to the old Irwin Allen disaster flicks of the ’70s, will easily claim the top spot in North America this weekend and will mark Johnson’s top domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise.

In his new film San Andreas, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a helicopter rescue pilot leading the evacuation of Los Angeles following an earthquake along the notorious fault.They could have kept their apocalyptic vision intact and still been scientifically accurate—just by moving the blockbuster movie’s mega earthquakes and massive tsunami about a thousand miles north to Portland and Seattle.Hollywood action star Dwayne Johnson says he decided to take up his recently released disaster flick, San Andreas, as it had a human element. “I loved the script after reading the first 30 pages.

Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha,” meanwhile, was left in the dust, eyeing a modest $10-11 million weekend after a slow Friday that drew approximately $3.6 million at 2,815 sites. The previous biggest opening day for a “by myself” movie star vehicle for The Rock is the $12.5m Friday and the $36m weekend of The Scorpion King way back in 2002. And natural disaster aside, life recently imitated art for the 6ft 4in, 252lb wrestler turned action hero; California-born Johnson, 43, has fled La La Land, relocating to South Florida. “I sold my home because I was in LA for 10 years and I got to a point where business cannot only continue to run but can grow being down here,” he says, referring to film and TV projects that he is developing in Miami. “Every meeting I take, everybody flies in. But they opted for California and the San Andreas, which, scientists say, can’t produce a magnitude 9 event, let alone a city-inundating wave of water. (Moviegoers beware: Spoilers ahead!) “Even if the entire San Andreas were to break all at once from north to south you wouldn’t get anything larger than an 8-ish earthquake,” said Jean Paul Ampuero, an assistant professor at Caltech — the institution from which the movie’s scientist-hero, played by Paul Giamatti, is supposed to hail.

Critics may not be giving “San Andreas” points for its brains, but the Dwayne Johnson film is certainly demonstrating its brawn — its strong performance is the best of Johnson’s career outside the “Fast & Furious” franchise, handily beating the opening weekend haul for “Hercules” ($29.8 million), “Pain and Gain” ($20.2 million) and “G.I. Adjusted for inflation that would be around $17.5m for Friday and $50m for the weekend, which is around where San Andreas will end up by tomorrow, give-or-take. Mass destruction has long been the province of disaster-porn impresario Roland Emmerich, whose The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 made extinction-level events into multiplex fun. Johnson says the already-hot Furious franchise was propelled to another level with the farewell to standout star Paul Walker, who died in a car crash on Nov. 30, 2013. “It was a lot of different elements coming together at the same time, and the lead element being Paul, seeing him for the very last time,” Johnson told theater owners last month at the CinemaCon convention. Cameron Crowe’s romantic drama Aloha, the weekend’s other new offering, isn’t looking so lucky despite its star-studded cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams).

Currently it is co-producing new HBO American football comedy Ballers, in which Johnson also stars (of which more later) and which has been filming in Miami. Still, Johnson added his own star power as Luke Hobbs, with Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian calling him “the ultimate box-office supercharger when added to the mix of existing franchises.” In March, Johnson hosted Saturday Night Live, opening with a skit about being “franchise Viagra.” His films — including the G.I. This was clearly a winning combo of star+concept, as audiences flocked to see The Rock save his family (and only his family) from a massive California-destroying earthquake. Already fractured is the Gaines family, with father Ray (Dwayne Johnson), a veteran Los Angeles helicopter-rescue pilot, being divorced by wife Emma (Carla Gugino) in the wake of their losing a daughter to a boating accident. In the grand, self-starting American tradition, the company name refers to the sum total of Johnson’s life savings when he was a struggling sportsman two decades ago.

While “Aloha” offers counter-programming for viewers who may have grown tired of the endless CGI carnage that litters summer blockbusters, the Bradley Cooper film has received a critical mauling and faced a barrage of accusations that it white-washes its Hawaiian setting. Their other child, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), is off to university, hitching a ride to San Francisco with Emma’s new boyfriend, property developer mogul Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino in ‘San Andreas’ By contrast, in 2013, Johnson’s films earned $1.3bn, making him the year’s highest-grossing actor, a feat he’s on course to repeat in 2015, having already starred in last month’s Furious 7 which has grossed over $1.5bn globally. Next month, he steps into the coveted HBO arena with new series Ballers (premiering June 21), which stars Johnson as a superstar athlete trying to reinvent himself as a financial manager.

A $10-11 million opening is in line with Crowe’s two most recent drama offerings — 2011’s “We Bought a Zoo” garnered $9.3 million and went on to make $75.6 million buoyed by the star power of Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, while 2005’s “Elizabethtown” bowed to $10.6 million on its way to a $26.8 million total. Once seismologist Dr Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) has outlined the coming nightmare and witnessed the end of the first iconic structure, it’s up to Ray to pull his family back together while everyone else is either falling to their death or getting squashed. Yet for all his physical and commercial clout, Johnson’s ascent to Hollywood’s top ranks has gone remarkably unheralded since he made his acting debut in 2001 in The Mummy Returns, following five years on the World Wrestling Entertainment circuit.

The Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Time Warner Entertainment release was produced by New Line, Village Roadshow, and Rat Pac at a cost of $100 million to produce. Daniel’s riches may be impressive when the ground is still, but in a disaster zone riven by powerful aftershocks you want the guy who’s built like his own tectonic plate. To wit, the film’s opening weekend will likely match or exceed the entire $47.6m domestic total for last year’s “found footage” tornado film Into the Storm, which was also a New Line release. 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. In between a heavy worldwide promotional schedule for San Andreas (current stop: China), Johnson already has started filming the comedy Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart, in which he plays a lethal but dorky hitman. “Things are great right now, but you’ve got to hustle,” he says. “You have to create opportunities for yourself.

Blake turns out to have inherited her father’s resourcefulness, and it’s a welcome reverse to have a young woman leading the way even as she sheds clothing layers to the ubiquitous singlet. From Sony, the Hawaii-set Aloha 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.

Among the illustrious cast, however, it’s a cameo-ing Kylie Minogue who most excites him. “She’s petite and beautiful and has an amazing voice,” he says. “I’ve been a fan of hers for such a long time and I finally got to know how cool and empathetic she was on TV when she was part of The Voice. “The Loco-Motion”? He was in a relatively minor 4.7 magnitude quake in 2009. “I was right under my chandelier in this large foyer, and all of a sudden it started to shake. The Rock sold the living heck out of this thing, as he does for anything he is involved in, and the marketing sold what needed to be sold (The Rock being heroic, buildings a-tumbling-down, etc.) without fail. A pair of British brothers, including love interest Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), follow her, while the first-to-die supporting cast includes Kylie Minogue as Daniel’s officious sister.

The parties I have had to that song!” We met in Miami before the recent earthquake that devastated Nepal; since then Warner Bros has revamped San Andreas’ marketing campaign to include public safety information and details on how people can contribute to the relief effort. That is the silver lining.” There’s no doubt that both Northern and Southern California are overdue for the “big one,” the magnitude 7 to 8 event that will shake San Francisco and Los Angeles to their cores. Johnson experienced hurricanes in Florida – he was living there when the category-five Hurricane Andrew hit the state in 1992 – and an earthquake in Los Angeles during the late nineties. “It was a small one,” he recalls. “[It] was strong at first and then it subsided. The irony, of course, is that there was a time when a star-driven disaster movie as big as San Andreas would have been a preordained summer champion, but now it wins merely for going the distance.

There’s the odd touch of mordant wit, such as a container ship topping a tsunami that characters are desperately trying to crest, but despite the ground constantly shaking San Andreas rarely moves you. 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. You’re more likely to be hit by something falling in your office than by a building falling down.” While skyscrapers did fine, certain areas of the city, like the Marina District, did not. A month ago, Johnson, his longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian and his 13-year-old daughter Simone (with ex-wife Dany Garcia) practiced quake drills and stocked disaster kits (quirky item: his beloved Pop-Tarts). The film was victimized by being explicitly criticized by Amy Pascal in documents stolen in the Sony leak last year, and the studio clearly lacked faith in the picture by hiding it from most critics until the last minute and then holding the reviews offline until hours before the film’s domestic debut.

City planners learned from that, said Patrick Otellini, chief resilience officer and director of the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program for the City and County of San Francisco. Another issue was buildings that collapsed because they had too little structural support on their bottom floors, which were serving as either garages or shops. It wasn’t just that the vast majority were negative, but rather they were brutal putdowns from critics who clearly considered themselves fans of the writer/director. Legislation passed in 2013 mandated that some 5,000 of these buildings, which house about 125,000 San Franciscans, would need to be retrofitted by 2020, Otellini said.

However, San Andreas sees him extend his facial repertoire. “It’s not an alien, it’s not a bad guy shooting a gun and it’s not a tank – it’s an earthquake and downtown LA is coming down so it’s a different face I have,” he notes. “The scary face. Also, 20th Century Fox is handling the overseas distribution, and they have a track record of turning lemons into lemonade abroad (go look up the foreign grosses for The Counselor). Premiering just after the new series of True Detective in the US next month, it sees him play a sports agent operating within the NFL and focuses on the relationships between him and the players he mentors. The bad news is that this was a pure star power test for Bradley Cooper, as the film’s confusing and unfocused trailer (truth in advertising!) left little else to offer besides pretty movie stars in lovely places being charming. I disliked the clearly butchered-in-post-production film without outright hating it, and I have to wonder if the reviews were harsher because of how much we all love Cameron Crowe.

Johnson recalls he discussed the concept of Ballers with Mark Wahlberg, also a producer of HBO’s Hollywood comedy-drama Entourage, when they filmed 2013 crime film Pain and Gain. It’s no coincidence that in addition to Wahlberg, he’s recruited Stephen Levinson and Rob Weiss from Entourage to produce and write Ballers. “The idea was to take Entourage and set it in the sports world,” he says. Truth be told, Cameron Crowe isn’t necessarily a hit machine, as really only Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky qualify as blockbusters and We Bought A Zoo needed (and got) December legs to get to a robust $75m domestic back in 2011. But he maintains he got his fitness zeal from his father. “My dad was very strict, he was an athlete,” he says. “Even when I was a little kid, he’d say, ‘You have to eat to nourish the body and not to please the tongue.’ I was six years old! That’s why my taste buds are boring.” Ballers, a prestigious cable TV project, is an indication of Johnson’s rising stock in the industry: “I’m in a good position today where the material I get is quality.

I didn’t come from an acting background or a performing arts school.” Whatever the reception of Ballers, you get the feeling that Johnson is increasingly keen to distance himself from his celebrity roots. I don’t take pictures of myself naked or anything like that.” Right now, there’s not much chance of him getting caught between The Rock and a hard place.

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