Typically, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s inclusion in virtually any film will give it the requisite shot of badassery required to pump out a hit. As Hollywood A-listers go, he’s one of the only ones with the cachet, to turn a bad movie into a cash cow. But it looks like all the muscles and star-power in the world can’t stop Skyscraper, Johnson’s most recent outing, from underperforming at the box office. The film is only projected to earn $33 million in its first three days, making it Johnson’s lowest opening since last year’s Baywatch.
Again, Johnson’s star power can’t be understated. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is Sony’s highest grossing film ever. Beyond that, movies based off of video games are categorically bad, but Johnson managed to turn Rampage, a non-King Kong outing about an enormous mutated gorilla, into a movie that people would actually pay to see. So why wouldn’t people go see him in a movie where he plays a disabled badass who beats on criminals and dramatically dangles from the edge of a burning building? There are a few reasons.
For starters, the initial reviews of Skyscraper have been a rather mixed bag. A lot of critics are noting that the movie is endlessly trope-y and relies on the general plot line of so many other movies— including several that Johnson has been in himself— while being, at best, just ‘well made.’ The movie is suffering from a little bit of the same movie fatigue that hurt Solo: A Star Wars Story’s bottom line too. Just like Solo couldn’t incur the monetary wrath of Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2, Skyscraper will suffer because of the films that are surrounding it.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is only on its second weekend and has way more pull as a franchise flick. The success’ of Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is likely to bleed well into their theatrical runs. And moreover, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is the third installment in a pretty popular movie franchise with a firm awareness of its base audience. It’s just really hard for an average film to stand out in a lineup that deep.