How The Rock conquered the China box office and proved he’s the biggest movie star on the planet (TWX)


Rampage 3 Warner Bros

With its $55 million opening weekend take in China, Dwayne Johnson’s latest movie, “Rampage,” proved that the star is one of the few actors who can bring in major coin across the world.
But his dominance in China, the second-largest movie market in the world, has been years in the making.

For many studio heads these days, glancing at how their latest movie did in China is in some ways more important than how it did in North America. That’s because things are changing drastically for an industry where the domestic box office has been considered the true indicator of a movie’s worth for over a century.

Since the early 2000s, the movie industry in China has gone from almost non-existent to the second-largest market in the world. And by 2020 it could surpass the US to become number one, as movie theaters continue to be built at a hurried pace to feed the interest of not just the Hollywood titles, but the country’s burgeoning homegrown production industry.

Everyone in Hollywood is trying to figure out how to navigate this sea change. What stories work best? Which are complete duds? And which movie stars can rake in the cash?

That last one has become an easy answer: Dwayne Johnson.

His latest CGI (and testosterone) heavy blockbuster, “Rampage,” won the US box office over the weekend with a $34.5 million take for its studio Warner Bros. But what the movie did in China has the studio ecstatic, as it took in $55 million to go along with its $114.1 million international gross.

But this is far from an overnight success. The Rock has been big in China for a while.

Dominance years in the making

Johnson’s elevation to a global box office draw came when he joined the “Fast and Furious” franchise with 2011’s “Fast Five.” But the potential of his worth in China came with the success of “Furious 7” in 2015.

In 2013, “Fast & Furious 6” became the first-ever movie in the Universal franchise to play in China (though there were undoubtedly years worth of bootlegs of the previous movies floating around the country). It took in a respectable $66.5 million there. But when “Furious 7” played there in 2015, it went gangbusters, taking in a $391 million total in China. A few months later, Johnson proved he didn’t need the “Fast” fam to make it in China, as “San Andreas” opened there and went on to earn $103.2 million.

The next movie with Johnson in it that went to China was 2016’s “Moana” ($32.7 million), and then in 2017 “The Fate of the Furious” once more found incredible success there with a $392.8 million total, going on to help the movie earn a $1.2 billion worldwide total.

With audiences in China already getting a glimpse of Johnson this year with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” when the movie opened there in January ($78 million), the $55 million …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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