‘San An­dreas’ holds sway

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Saba Hamedy saba.hamedy@la­times.com

“San An­dreas” proved to be no dis­as­ter at the box of­fice over the week­end, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates for the U.S. and Canada, de­but­ing with a higher-than-ex­pected $53.2 mil­lion.

Fel­low new­comer “Aloha” didn’t fare as well. Direc­tor Cameron Crowe’s ro­man­tic com­edy fell in line with mod­est track­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, de­but­ing at No. 6 with an es­ti­mated $10 mil­lion.

Go­ing into the week­end, “San An­dreas” was track­ing to make about $40 mil­lion. The earth­quake movie, co­pro­duced by Warner Bros. and Vil­lage Road­show Pic­tures for $110 mil­lion, stars Dwayne “The Rock” John­son as a he­li­copter pi­lot who is search­ing for his daugh­ter af­ter a mas­sive earth­quake.

John­son was a large draw for movie­go­ers, who also flocked to see him re­cently in “Fu­ri­ous 7.” Pos­i­tive word of mouth, re­flected in a strong grade of A-mi­nus from au­di­ence polling firm Cine­maS­core, also helped “San An­dreas.” An es­ti­mated 51% of movie­go­ers were fe­male, and 70% were older than 25.

“When­ever you ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions in this world, you have to feel good about it,” said Dan Fell­man, Warner Bros. pres­i­dent of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion. “This movie is go­ing to have some strong legs.” “San An­dreas” marks John­son’s high­est-gross­ing open­ing as a solo lead.

Although “Aloha” pro­vided coun­ter­pro­gram­ming to the dis­as­ter flick, the rom­com didn’t draw nearly as many movie­go­ers. Re­leased by Sony Pic­tures, the film fol­lows a de­fense con­trac­tor (Bradley Cooper) af­ter he falls in love with an Air Force pi­lot (Emma Stone). The Hawaii-set film also stars Rachel McA­dams, John Krasin­ski and Bill Mur­ray.

De­spite the star-stud­ded cast, most crit­ics have not been kind. Indiewire called it “shock­ingly bad,” and Va­ri­ety said it was “un­bal­anced, un­wieldy, and at times nearly un­in­tel­li­gi­ble.” (The Times’ re­view found charms in Crowe’s film and said the “bum­mer buzz” might partly stem from “Aloha” be­ing “a messy, im­per­fect movie about messy, im­per­fect peo­ple.”)

Sony part­nered with 20th Cen­tury Fox, New Re­gency, LS­tar Cap­i­tal and RatPac En­ter­tain­ment on the film, which cost $37 mil­lion to make. Movie­go­ers gave “Aloha” a B-mi­nus on Cine­maS­core. It played par­tic­u­larly well among younger fe­male view­ers.

“Ul­ti­mately, the most im­por­tant re­view is that of the moviego­ing au­di­ence,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s head of do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion, who added that word of mouth could help the film in the weeks to come.

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