‘San An­dreas’ shakes way to top spot at the US box of­fice

The China Post - - ARTS - BY RYAN NAKASHIMA

Dwayne “The Rock” John­son out- mus­cled the com­pe­ti­tion at U.S. movie the­aters as the earth­quake epic “San An­dreas” hauled in an es­ti­mated US$53.2 mil­lion over the week­end. It was John­son’s big­gest de­but for a non­se­quel as the top-billed ac­tor, ac­cord­ing to box of­fice tracker Ren­trak.

The ac­tion star helped the movie over-per­form on the West Coast de­spite fears that au­di­ences in earth­quake-prone re­gions would stay away, said Dan Fell­man, pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion for Warner Bros., which dis­trib­uted the film made by its New Line unit.

“Some peo­ple felt they’d be a lit­tle ner­vous watch­ing such a dis­as­ter hit both Los An­ge­les and San Fran­cisco, but there was a cu­rios­ity fac­tor,” Fell­man said. “They went, they packed the the­aters and they liked it.”

“Aloha,” the crit­i­cally ma­ligned ro­man­tic com­edy from direc­tor Cameron Crowe, opened in sixth place with US$10 mil­lion.

The movie was dogged by con­tro­versy. Leaked emails from for­mer Sony Pic­tures En­ter­tain­ment co-chair Amy Pas­cal last year la­beled the “Aloha” script “ridicu­lous.” Then, some Na­tive Hawai­ian groups op­posed the ti­tle as mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing the con­cept of the word. An Asian-Amer­i­can group crit­i­cized the use of a nearly all-white cast in a film shot in Hawaii, a heav­ily Asian is­land chain.

A slew of crit­ics slammed the movie — many call­ing it con­fus­ing, won­der­ing if parts of it were miss­ing, and say­ing it was Cameron’s worst film ever de­spite the al­ls­tar cast of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, and Rachel McA­dams. They com­bined to give it a Rot­ten Toma­toes score of just 17 per­cent.

Rory Bruer, Sony Pic­tures En­ter­tain­ment’s pres­i­dent of world­wide dis­tri­bu­tion, said “Aloha” did well enough with women aged 25-34 to over­come the neg­a­tive buzz. The film cost about US$37 mil­lion to make.”

“Ul­ti­mately, we are go­ing to come out just fine on the movie. But more than any­thing we’re proud of the film,” he said.

Af­ter show­ings, au­di­ences gave “San An­dreas” 3.5 out of 5 stars on av­er­age, while giv­ing “Aloha” just 2 out of 5.

Paul Der­garabe­dian, Ren­trak’s se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst, said the ex­pec­ta­tions-bust­ing per­for­mance of “San An­dreas” in the­aters helped jolt Hol­ly­wood out of a funk that be­gan on the Me­mo­rial Day long week­end.

“For it to per­form in this way when typ­i­cally the sum­mer is driven by se­quels proves the power of Dwayne John­son at the box of­fice,” Der­garabe­dian said. “He’s a seis­mic event all on his own.”

For the year to date, box of­fice rev­enues for the­aters in the U.S. and Canada are up nearly 5 per­cent at US$4.26 bil­lion, while at­ten­dance is up more than 4 per­cent.

Es­ti­mated ticket sales for Fri­day through Sun­day at U.S. and Canadian the­aters, ac­cord­ing to Ren­trak. Where avail­able, the lat­est in­ter­na­tional num­bers for Fri­day through Sun­day are also in­cluded. Fi­nal do­mes­tic fig­ures will be re­leased Mon­day.

AP

This photo pro­vided by Warner Bros. Pic­tures shows Dwayne John­son as Ray in a scene from the ac­tion thriller, “San An­dreas.”

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