- “Skyscraper,” starring big box office draw, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, had a very poor opening weekend at the box office.
- The movie only took in $25 million, coming in third place.
- A sequel is king once again this summer as Adam Sandler’s “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” took in $44.1 million.
Dwayne Johnson’s latest solo effort was no match for the summer movie sequels.
Universal always knew putting The Rock’s movie, “Skyscraper,” a homage to thrilling disaster movies like “Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno,” up against a slew of sequels would be a challenge, but the studio didn’t know it would turn out this bad.
The movie, on just over 3,700 screens, only took in an estimated $25.5 million, putting Johnson’s latest in a disappointing third place at the box office this weekend.
That’s the worst opening in the last three years for a movie where The Rock is the sole draw.
Beating out “Skyscraper” to win the weekend was Adam Sandler’s “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” (playing on over 4,200 screens), with an estimated $44.1 million, the latest from Sony’s successful animated franchise.
And coming in second place was Disney/Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” with around $30 million in its second weekend in theaters.
This weekend proved that even the star appeal of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has its limitations. You can chalk up the weak opening for “Skyscraper” to the success of sequels. Along with the new release of “Hotel Transylvania 3,” holdovers like “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Incredibles 2,” “Jurassic World 2,” “The First Purge,” and “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” are still finding audiences.
That’s a lot of options for moviegoers, and most are going to go spend their money on movies they have a familiarity with rather than an untested original, even if it stars The Rock.
“Hotel Transylvania 3,” the remaining Sandler franchise in the studio system (everything else of his is pretty much being released through Netflix), earned the second-best opening ever for the franchise. Its $44.1 million take bests the 2012 original ($42.5 million) but not the $48.4 million opening the sequel did.
“Skyscraper” had a weak 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but Johnson’s scores have been lousy historically, so that’s not the issue here.
Could we be entering a stage of The Rock fatigue?
What it came down to is that Universal took the gamble that Johnson’s name could carry an “original” movie in the sequel-heavy summer movie season and lost. It just so happened that every sequel released this summer is working like gangbusters.
Things were different back in 2015 when Johnson was the face of the summer original release “San Andreas.”
There were fewer sequels to worry about then, and it didn’t have as many box office hits (movies like “Tomorrowland,” “Aloha,” and “Entourage: The Movie,” surrounded the opening weekend for “San Andreas”). Warner Bros. won the opening weekend with “San Andreas” with $54.5 million.
Warner Bros. also had a strong result earlier this year with a Johnson movie with “Rampage.” The April release won its weekend with $35.7 million.
“Skyscraper” bombing (it was made for around $125 million) this weekend is likely less due to two movies starring The Rock coming out in the span of three months and more just a bad release date.
But if we are in a stage of “The Rock fatigue”, we’ll know after the movie opens wider internationally.
Johnson really promoted the movie in China, the second-largest movie market in the world and a region where he’s found success. It opens there this Friday, and if it plays soft there (the movie is set in Hong Kong), then team Johnson will be in panic mode. And Warner Bros. will be looking at a major loss.