Rampage Movie Review

A genetically deformed gorilla, wolf, and alligator walk into a major metropolitan area and destroy buildings. That was the concept of the video game in which Rampage was based upon and the movie adaptation doesn’t burden itself with over ambition in bringing it to the screen. Throw in Dwayne Johnson and lots of CG effects and what do you get? A fairly middling experience that will probably manage to thrill teenage boys whose fathers spent their quarters on the game at the arcade in the 1980s.

Davis Okoye (Johnson) is a primatologist. He’s great with animals and doesn’t really enjoy interacting with people, as the screenplay incessantly reminds us. He’s developed a particular bond with George, an albino gorilla who lives at the sanctuary where Davis works. They’re practically a comedy team as Davis has taught him tricks like flipping the bird. The duo’s future nightclub act is disrupted when a canister of debris containing genetic mutation material lands near George and causes him to grow into a destructive beast. This nasty stuff is also consumed by the aforementioned wolf and alligator.

I could go into further plot detail on the specifics, but here’s the bottom line. Rampage is all about getting that trio of monsters en route to Chicago where they can flick tanks and helicopters into buildings with ease. Davis teams up with an engineer (Naomie Harris) and an outlaw government figure (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to not only stop the creatures, but prevent the military from overreacting to the potential carnage. And there’s Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy as the sister/brother duo who run the evil corporation that made the stuff that turned funny George into bad George.

Unfortunately for us, there’s about an hour of filler before Rampage reaches its Windy City destination. That time is a bit of a strain. Since it’s Dwayne Johnson playing a primatologist, it will come as no shock that he’s also ex-Special Forces. We get a bit of his background (including some anti-poaching messages) and same goes for Harris’s character who used to work at the conglomerate that wreaked this havoc.

By the time we arrive at the gorilla and wolf and alligator warfare, we’re greeted with some decent set pieces in the Transformers vein. Yet that even manages to overstay its welcome and the CG, while decent, has seen stronger offerings (it’s nothing compared to the animal work in the latest Planet of the Apes pics).

This is Johnson’s second collaboration with Brad Peyton, who directed him in San Andreas. That was another so-so spectacle that was easily digestible and forgettable. The makers of and actors in Rampage do seem to know this is silly junk food and earn some points for never taking it seriously. And there’s certainly been other video game adaptations that have been way worse. We’re talking faint praise, I suppose, but Rampage can only do so much with the simple concept of “smash building, smash car, and repeat.”

**1/2 (out of four)

Skyscraper Box Office Prediction

Dwayne Johnson has built quite a box office list of hits over the past few months with titles like The Fate of the Furious, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Rampage. As for Baywatch… well, nobody’s perfect. Next weekend sees the release of Skyscraper, an action film which appears to be heavily influenced by The Towering Inferno and Die Hard. The pic is directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber who’s best known for comedies like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, We’re the Millers, and Central Intelligence (his 2016 blockbuster collaboration with Johnson). Costars include Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Moller, Pablo Schreiber, and Noah Taylor.

Johnson’s last two efforts (Jungle and Rampage) both opened in the mid 30s. However, that’s a little misleading with Jumanji as it opened in a massively crowded Christmas frame and legged out to a gross of over $400 million. Rampage, on the other hand, sits at $98 million total. Central Intelligence, by the way, also premiered in the range at $35 million.

I don’t see any compelling reason why Skyscraper would debut over those titles. And I also don’t see much reason why it would open too far under them. The PG-13 rating should help bring in teens, though the second weekend of AntMan and the Wasp does present direct competition. I’ll project Skyscraper for a low to mid 30s start, right on pace with its lead’s other rock solid roll outs.

Skyscraper opening weekend prediction: $33.2 million

For my Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation prediction, click here:


Box Office Predictions: May 11-13

Two new titles look to place second and third this weekend as Avengers: Infinity War should continue to dominate the charts. They are the Melissa McCarthy back to college comedy Life of the Party and Gabrielle Union thriller Breaking In. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on that pair here:



My high teens estimate for Party indeed puts it in the runner-up position with Breaking in mid to high teens for third. I’ve got Avengers grossing just under $60 million in its third frame to easily stay #1 with holdovers Overboard and A Quiet Place rounding out the top five.

And with that, my estimates for the weekend ahead:

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Predicted Gross: $59.7 million

2. Life of the Party

Predicted Gross: $19.4 million

3. Breaking In

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

4. Overboard

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

5. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million

Box Office Results (May 46)

Avengers: Infinity War continued its chart domination by scoring the second best second weekend ever at $114.7 million, a bit under my $118.1 million forecast. The Marvel juggernaut has amassed $453 million thus far.

Overboard had a healthy opening in second with $14.7 million, topping my $11.8 million estimate. I look for the comedy to have a rather hefty drop this coming weekend.

A Quiet Place was third at $7.7 million (I said $7.3 million) to bring its tally to $160 million.

I Feel Pretty was fourth with $5 million (I was close at $5.2 million) for $37 million overall.

Rampage was fifth and I incorrectly had it outside the top 5. It grossed $4.6 million and has made $84 million total.

Tully with Charlize Theron opened meekly in sixth with $3.2 million. I gave it a bit too much credit and had it at $5 million.

Finally, Bad Samaritan bombed in 11th place with just $1.7 million, a tad below my $2.1 million projection.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: May 4-6

It’s gonna by May at the box office and there’s a trio of newcomers hitting screens: rom com remake Overboard with Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris, critically acclaimed comedic drama Tully with Charlize Theron, and horror thriller Bad Samaritan. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:




I have none of the trio of newcomers even breaking $10 million. Overboard should lead the pack and is likely to place second. Tully could get a 4th or 5th place showing, coming in behind A Quiet Place or a bit ahead or slightly behind I Feel Pretty. My $2.1 million estimate for Bad Samaritan leaves it outside the top 5.

This weekend will once again be all about the superheroes as Avengers: Infinity War enters its sophomore frame after its record shattering debut (more on that below). So how will Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and so many others hold up in weekend #2? 2012’s The Avengers dropped 50% in its sophomore outing with 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron falling 59%. I have this dropping somewhere in between. Let’s put it at 54%. That would be #2 as far as all-time second weekends (vaulting over Black Panther), but not as high as the $149 million achieved by Force Awakens (which had the benefit of its follow-up frame falling over the Christmas holiday).

**If you’d like to read my review of Infinity War (spoiler free), it can be found here:


And with that, here’s my top 5 projections for the weekend:

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Predicted Gross: $118.1 million

2. Overboard

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

3. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million

4. I Feel Pretty

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

5. Tully

Predicted Gross: $5 million

Box Office Results (April 27-29)

Avengers: Infinity War made history at the box office this weekend. Not only did the Marvel gathering of its heroes have the biggest domestic debut of all time – it did so rather easily. War amassed $257.6 million, besting the previous high mark set by 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $247.9 million. It blasted past my projection of $240.2 million. Will the fourth Avengers title coming in one year top this one? Time shall tell. One thing is for sure – Marvel/Disney is having an unbelievable year with this and Black Panther. 

A Quiet Place took the runner-up spot with $11 million, in line with my $11.8 million prediction for $148 million overall.

I Feel Pretty stayed in third place in weekend #2 with $8.1 million (I was close with $7.6 million) for a $29 million tally.

Rampage placed fourth with $7.2 million, below my $9.1 million forecast for a total of $78 million.

I gave Super Troopers 2 too much credit and had it in the top 5 at $5.6 million. It came in lower with $3.7 million for sixth place and has made $22 million thus far.

The aforementioned Black Panther ended up rounding out the top five with $4.7 million to bring its gross to $688 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 27-29

We are in the midst of the spring season currently, but in Hollywood it becomes summer this weekend as Avengers: Infinity War blasts into theaters. The Disney/Marvel property brings together the MCU superheroes of the past decade and looks to break numerous records. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:


As my estimate outlines, I anticipate Infinity falling just short (about $7 million) of the all-time opening record achieved by Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December of 2015. That easily gives it the #2 premiere (well above the $220 million that Star Wars: The Last Jedi made this past December).

All of the oxygen in this late April frame should be sucked up by Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, and more. This means holdovers may experience some rather rough declines, including Rampage. I also have a feeling Super Troopers 2 (after an opening that exceeded all expectations) is an example of a front-loaded gross and its sophomore fall could be significant. A Quiet Place should drop to second while Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty may lose around half of its middling debut audience.

And with that, my top 5 projections for the weekend:

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Predicted Gross: $240.2 million

2. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

3. Rampage

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

4. I Feel Pretty

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million

5. Super Troopers 2

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

Box Office Results (April 20-22)

A Quiet Place crept back up into the top spot as the acclaimed horror pic took in $20.9 million, on pace with my $21.6 million projection. Its three-week total stands at a terrific $131 million.

Rampage dropped to second and held up better than I figured in weekend #2 with $20 million compared to my $17 million forecast. The Dwayne Johnson adventure has made $65 million thus far. As mentioned, it could be in for a healthier drop this weekend considering the competition.

Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty debuted in third with a just OK $16 million, in line with my $16.2 million prediction. This is lower than the comedian’s previous outings, Trainwreck and Snatched.

While Pretty was a comedy that opened on the lower end of estimates, Super Troopers 2 was fourth and blew away most prognostications. The sequel to the 2002 cult hit made a strong $15.1 million, nearly tripling my $5.2 million estimate.

Truth or Dare rounded out the top five in its sophomore frame with $7.7 million. I was close at $7.9 million. The low-budget Blumhouse horror offering sits at $30 million in its first two weekends.

Due to my low ball take on Troopers, I incorrectly had Blockers fifth. It came in seventh with $6.8 million (I said $5.9 million) for $48 million overall. Ready Player One was sixth with $7.4 million and it’s up to $126 million.

Finally, the Paula Patton thriller Traffik opened in ninth with $3.9 million – a bit above my $3 million take.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 20-22

It’s the calm before the Marvel storm at the box office this weekend as three new titles debut: Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, comedy sequel Super Troopers 2, and Paula Patton/Omar Epps thriller Traffik. You can peruse my detailed predictions on that trio here:




As we await the potentially record-breaking premiere of Avengers: Infinity War next weekend (my estimate for it will be on the blog tomorrow), there is some excitement to ponder with this frame. There could be a three-way battle for first place as current #1 Rampage is likely to suffer a heftier drop than A Quiet Place. If Pretty beats my forecast, it could vie for the top slot as well.

My $5.2 million Super Troopers 2 prediction and $3 million projection for Traffik leave them both outside my top 5.

Truth or Dare should drop to fourth with Ready Player One and Blockers battling for fifth position. I’ll note I have Player right behind Blockers in sixth with $5.8 million.

So while Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy and more superheroes await, here’s my take on this weekend’s high five:

1. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $21.6 million

2. Rampage

Predicted Gross: $17 million

3. I Feel Pretty

Predicted Gross: $16.2 million

4. Truth or Dare

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

5. Blockers

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

Box Office Results (April 1315)

Rampage took first as Dwayne Johnson’s adventure with a slew of CG creatures met expectations with $35.7 million, in line with my $36.6 million estimate. As you can see above, I expect it to lose more than half its opening audience and cede the pole position to the third frame of horror smash A Quiet Place.

Speaking of, A Quiet Place held strongly in second with $32.9 million. I was close on that projection too with $31.8 million. The acclaimed pic has amassed $100 million in just ten days.

Blumhouse continued its trend of turning low-budget fright fests into hits as Truth or Dare was third with $18.6 million, just topping my $16.7 million forecast. While I look for it to drop fast, it’s already a big success considering its budget is reportedly under $5 million.

Other holdovers experienced larger declines that my projections. Ready Player One was fourth with $11.5 million compared to my $13.9 million estimate for $114 million total. Blockers was fifth with $10.7 million (I said $13.3 million) for $37 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 13-15

Dwayne Johnson and Blumhouse Productions are hoping that Friday the 13th is a lucky opening day for them as Rampage and Truth or Dare debut this weekend. The former teams Johnson in an adventure with a host of CG animals and the latter is the latest from the studio that has seen a number of low-budget horror hits. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:



The battle for #1 got a bit more interesting this weekend due to the incredible debut of A Quiet Place. If Rampage were to not meet expectations (and I have it meeting them), it could create a close race between the two. That said, my mid 30s projection for The Rock and the giant gorillas and wolves puts it in first with Quiet not too far behind.

Underestimating Blumhouse is usually not a wise course of action and I have Truth or Dare in third (even with the considerable competition of A Quiet Place‘s sophomore frame). That means Ready Player One and Blockers (which opened very well itself over the weekend) should be awfully close in the race for fourth. I give Player the slight edge.

There’s also the nationwide expansion of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, which has been performing splendidly in limited release. I don’t have a theater count for it yet, but I don’t see it reaching the top 5. If it hits around 1500 theaters, I would probably say it gets around $7.5 million to $8 million. We also have the animated Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero and tennis drama Borg vs. McEnroe apparently both opening in wide (or wide-ish) release. Once again, I’ve yet to witness a screen count and there’s really no chance either of them sniff the top 5 anyway.

And with that, my projections for the weekend:

1. Rampage

Predicted Gross: $36.6 million

2. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $31.8 million

3. Truth or Dare

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million

4. Ready Player One

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million

5. Blockers

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

Box Office Results (April 6-8)

As mentioned, it was a loud and massive opening for John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place as the critically acclaimed horror pic took in $50.2 million (way beyond my $31.2 million estimate). That’s the second largest opening of 2018 behind Black Panther as it nearly tripled its meager $17 million budget in just three days. With great word-of-mouth, expect it to play well over the coming weekends.

Pretty much everything made more than my predictions in this first full April weekend. Ready Player One held solidly in weekend #2 with $24.6 million (ahead of my $21.8 million prediction) for $96 million overall.

Well reviewed comedy Blockers had a sturdy debut in third with $20.5 million, besting my $15.2 million projection. Look for the John Cena/Leslie Mann laugh fest to experience minimal declines in coming weekends, similar to what Game Night recently accomplished.

Black Panther took in $8.7 million for fourth (topping my take of $7.2 million) and it once again made some box office history. The Marvel behemoth became the third largest domestic grosser of all time (surpassing Titanic). It will likely stay at that spot behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avatar. The current gross is $665 million.

Acrimony was fifth with $8.3 million (I said $6.5 million). Its two-week tally is $31 million.

Chappaquiddick didn’t make the top 5, but it did considerably better than what I figured. The Kennedy drama was 7th with $5.7 million. I was much lower at $2.3 million.

The inspirational sports drama The Miracle Season was 11th with $3.9 million, serving up close to my $3.8 million prediction.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Rampage Box Office Prediction

Pairing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a bunch of CG animals in an adventure flick? If that sounds like a recipe for box office success, that’s because Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle became Sony’s biggest hit at the end of 2017. And next weekend’s Rampage (while it won’t approach the numbers of that franchise follow-up) looks poised to bring in generous earnings.

The Warner Bros release is based loosely on the 1980s video game. It marks Johnson’s third collaboration with director Brad Peyton following Journey: The Mysterious Island and San Andreas. Both of those titles managed to top the century mark ($103 million and $155 million respectively) and this should do the same. Costars include Naomie Harris, Malin Ackerman, Joe Manganiello, Jake Lacy, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Perhaps more importantly, other costars are giant gorillas, wolf’s, and alligators.

The question is whether Rampage falls more in line with $27 million debut of Journey 2 or the $54 million accomplished by Andreas. The former seems a bit low to me while the latter is high. I’ll project a mid to possibly high 30s opening is more the ticket.

Rampage opening weekend prediction: $36.6 million

For my Truth or Dare prediction, click here: