Is Dwayne Johnson the most bankable actor in Hollywood? Some are saying so after the success of his newest movie, Rampage, as he seems able to sell just about any movie to the public.
The film is based on a video game franchise and stars Johnson as a primatologist who helps protect an albino gorilla that has grown to massive size from human experimentation. Despite middling reviews, it made $148 million in its opening weekend, with $34.5 million of that being from the United States. That’s pretty good given its $120 million budget, especially since movies based on video games are infamously unsuccessful as a rule.
Indeed, Johnson has never really had a movie that really bombed; even such ridiculous fair as 2010 Tooth Fairy made back their budget. And of course, last year saw the surprising success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a belated sequel that became the 5th highest-grossing movie of the year with $953 million, in the process beating out such hits as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman.
A former professional wrestler (famously known as “the Rock”), Johnson began with action movies like The Mummy Returns, and then quickly moved to family-friendly comedies, on the grounds that watching a professional wrestler/action star taking care of children was automatically funny. His charisma is such that he can convincingly pass as a badass and a buffoon (or both), and he has mostly gotten by picking fun movies that, even if they’re stupid, people are willing to watch if one of their favorite actors are in it.
Johnson is also notably popular overseas; the Fast and the Furious franchise, for example, is especially popular in China. With the international market becoming more prominent over time, this is a major boon for Johnson’s career, and defies the popular perception that non-white American actors do not sell outside of the country.
So what is up next for Johnson? He will be starring in Skyscraper, which is based on a Disney ride; Eddie Murphy couldn’t pull that off, but then, Johnny Depp managed quite well. He has also been assigned to play Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe for years, which could be a boost for the struggling franchise if Johnson’s luck continues to hold on.