‘San Andreas’ holds sway
“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.