San Andreas outpaced tracking numbers and expectations (putting it variously at $37 million to $40 million) this weekend, earning $53.2 million in the US, plus $60 million from 60 overseas markets for a total of $113.2 million worldwide, according to early estimates. This on a cheap-for-a-3D-disaster-movie budget of $100-110 million. It’s a wonder no one thought of this formula earlier. Why make a disaster movie when you can make a disaster movie starring a lovable wrestler growling one-liners while a hot lady’s clothes slowly disappear? Heck, it worked for me. Though I do suddenly have the strange urge to buy a Dodge. Audiences, meanwhile, gave it an okay A- Cinemascore.
Other superlatives and factoids:
…the top opening of all time in [Mexico] for a disaster movie and the second-biggest debut for a Warners title. [THR]
…[The Rock’s] top domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise, and his highest ever for a title in which he is the solo lead. [THR]
It played 51% female, 70% over 25, and 44% 3D. [Forbes]
Some people will surely paint a cheesy earthquake movie making $53 million as the death of civilization, but it was a silly movie that knew it was a silly movie, that didn’t try to lecture you, where every time an Earthquake happens the Rock shows up driving a new vehicle and Alexandra Daddario loses another article of clothes (The Rock also avenged his other daughter’s death via tragic whitewater rafting accident). Don’t begrudge the success of a movie that knows what it’s selling. Can you sell what The Rock is… uh… punching? Nevermind.
Speaking of knowing what you’re selling, the other new release of the weekend was Cameron Crowe’s Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, the ultimate whatsit, “the movie equivalent of a man in a donkey suit with a tree branch growing out of his forehead,” according to one ruggedly handsome super genius. Aloha earned $10 million, despite having its release delayed, being hid from critics, getting very little advertising, and despite the the director not even knowing what it was supposed to be, let alone the marketing department. It cost $37 million to make, and actually, did far better than I expected. And in fact, better than Cameron Crowe’s last movie.
[Crowe’s] 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+. [THR]
Long story short, it’s probably not bad enough to keep Cameron Crowe from being able to make his next movie, and Aloha was so obviously hacked to pieces in post and beset by behind-the-scenes issues that you wonder how much of it was his fault to begin with. It was a failure, but I give at least a partial pass to a filmmaker who fails for trying too hard.
Elsewhere, more bad news for Tomorrowland:
“Tomorrowland” is dead in the water. With a $200 to $250 million budget (if you add in promotion and advertising), [Tomorrowland] will flood Disney with red ink before the summer is over. International box office is weaker than expected. Just to break even, George Clooney’s latest flop will need to clear $500 to $550 million. This stinker will be lucky to nudge half that amount. [Breitbart]
Tomorrowland reminded me of the Russell Crowe Robin Hood movie in its attempt to set up a future franchise while offering little more than a stretched out first act, and M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, in being so smarmy that it preemptively blames its own failure on the audience’s cynicism. I guess you guys just didn’t believe hard enough. Good riddance to that, and I hope it’s a cautionary tale. Make a good movie first, then worry about a franchise.
This week brings us the Entourage Movie (WILL VINCE DO THE MOVIE?!?!) on Wednesday, and Spy and Insidious: Chapter 3 on Friday. I’d like to see that Insidious movie, but I’d probably just be lost trying to understand it without having seen the first two. Like, wait, why is this house so haunted?