“I’m thinking closer to $50 million,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap. “These comedy team-ups are pretty hot right now, and honestly, The Rock has been on a roll of late. Sure, even though Kevin Hart might have cooled a bit, he still opened ‘Ride Along 2’ upwards of $35 million. So you combine that, urban audiences, and The Rock and you’ve already got somewhere north of $40 million minimum. This might be the perfect summer storm.”
“Central Intelligence” is about a man named Calvin (Hart) whose life didn’t turn out the way he had anticipated. Enter Bob Stone (Johnson), Calvin’s once-bullied high school classmate turned CIA agent. Bob enlists Calvin to help him on a top-secret mission, causing all sorts of ruckus.
See 5 reasons why “Central Intelligence” might blow past expectations below.
1. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson Are a Great Team
Hart and Johnson have great on-screen chemistry, and work off each other comfortably. Even the already released bloopers show their great rapport. And Johnson is extremely hot right now. Dubbed the busiest man in Hollywood, he has multiple upcoming projects, including “Baywatch,” the “Jumanji” remake, and “San Andreas 2.”
“Dwayne Johnson has proven himself to be a major box office draw as a single above the title talent (‘San Andreas’) and as part of an ensemble (as in the ‘Furious’ franchise),” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at comScore. “On ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Johnson even referred to himself as ‘franchise Viagra’ and he’s actually right!”
Hart is a high-profile comedian who is extremely popular; he has almost 30 million followers on Twitter.
2. Counter-Programming to “Finding Dory”
Yes, one of the biggest movies of the year is opening alongside “Central Intelligence,” but the films have entirely different audiences. “Finding Dory” is looking to open in the $125-million range and is targeted towards families, while Johnson and Hart’s movie appeals to older crowds who like action-comedies.
“This is great weekend for both ‘Dory’ and ‘Central Intelligence’ with Father’s Day trips to the movie theater likely to help both movies perform well as they will draw voluminous and distinctive audiences,” said Dergarabedian.
3. It Targets the African American Crowds
“African American audiences have been largely ignored this summer — all minorities for the most part, in fact. And anytime that happens the box office build-up becomes explosive,” said Bock. “We could be looking at a debut of close to $50 million!”
Indeed, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” was the last film targeted at black audiences, and that was released mid-April.
There also hasn’t been a PG-13 action comedy in quite some time, so “Central Intelligence” plays to that market as well.
4. Strong Social Media Hype
Even before reviews were published on Wednesday, fans expressed their interest on social media. Johnson and Hart have taken the task of promoting personally; not only have they responded to individual fans praising the film, they’ve also marketing the film with behind-the-scenes videos, clips, and Twitter Q&A’s.
“They will work tirelessly for their movie,” said Dergarabedian. “They are very engaging and very charismatic on their own, and together, they have this unique combo.”
According to BoxOffice.com, “Central Intelligence” had 29 positive mentions on Twitter for every one negative. “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” in comparison, had a 6 to 1 ratio, while “Ride Along 2” had 11 positive mentions for every one negative.
5. It’s Not a Sequel
The fact that “Central Intelligence” is an original movie might play in its favor during this summer’s sequel slump.
“‘Central Intelligence’ is a brand new title and it’s not a sequel,” said Dergarabedian. “Maybe if it did well enough, it could spawn a sequel.”
And Dergarabedian added that the comedy’s clever tagline: “Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.”
“The tagline itself has won over half of the audience!” he said.