The Rock is on a roll, and it’s not going to end with “San Andreas.”
The 3D earthquake disaster movie will rumble to $40 million in its box office debut for New Line and Warner Bros. this weekend, bullish analysts predict. That should be plenty to knock off the reigning No. 1 movie “Tomorrowland” and the weekend’s other wide opener, “Aloha,” which is written and directed by Cameron Crowe.
Sony’s romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray has had a hard time overcoming negative buzz that began last December, when hacked emails from former studio chairwoman Amy Pascal surfaced in which she called the script “ridiculous.” It’s looking at a debut in the $15 million range, say the analysts, though the studio is more conservative in its projection.
The Rock is coming off Universal’s “Furious 7,” the year’s highest-grossing movie globally with nearly $1.5 billion (an eighth installment is in the works). And in three weeks, the former World Wrestling Entertainment star will make his debut in the HBO TV series “Ballers.”
In “San Andreas,” he’s re-teamed with director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn for the third time, following last summer’s “Hercules” and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.”
The vital signs are mixed on the $110 million action extravaganza, which co-stars Paul Giamatti, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario and Ioan Gruffudd. The reviews are weak and it’s at 32 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s ahead of “Noah,” which opened to $43 million in March 2014, on Facebook, though behind it on Twitter. It was the top-seller Wednesday morning at Fandango, however.
The only suspense going into this weekend is over just how high the effects-heavy “San Andreas” can go. Moviegoers may take a box office breather after a hit-crowded May and a long but underwhelming Memorial Day weekend.
“We had ‘Furious 7,’ then ‘Avengers,’ and ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Mad Max’ and people may have needed a break,” said Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock. “This was the weekend that ‘Godzilla’ stomped it last year, and that was basically a disaster movie too, so this could be a very good spot for San Andreas.'”
Warner Bros. will roll “San Andreas” out to a healthy 3,777 theaters, including 360 IMAX screens.