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San Andreas rocks US box office with seismic $53.2 million debut

San Andreas

Story by Jack Foley

DWAYNE Johnson disaster flick San Andreas has shot to the top of the US box office with a seismic opening weekend of $53.2 million.

Faring better than expected, the Brad Peyton directed movie also fared well overseas where it proved the enduring popularity of the disaster blockbuster first experienced by the likes of Irwin Allen’s Earthquake way back in the ’70s.

Aside from its $53.2m in the US, the film took $60 million from 60 territories for a global total of $113.2 million – already surpassing its $110 million production costs.

Mexico led the way with $10 million, which marked the top opening of all time in that country for a disaster movie, while back in the US, the figure helped to deliver leading man Johnson his best domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise, and his highest ever for a solo lead project.

The film finds Johnson playing a helicopter pilot who is called upon to execute a series of rescues, including those of his ex-wife and daughter, after an earthquake hits the notorious San Andreas fault.

Dan Fellman, Warners domestic distribution chief, commented: “Dwayne Johnson is a four-quadrant, larger-than-life movie star. He works like no one else I’ve ever seen.”

In stark contrast was Cameron Crowe’s romantic dramedy Aloha, which flopped despite the presence of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams.

The film debuted to $10 million, the lowest opening of summer 2015 to date for a major studio release and only enough for a sixth-place finish.

The Hawaii-set movie stars Cooper as a military contractor who falls for an Air Force pilot, played by Stone, only to encounter a past lover, in the form of McAdams. It is the latest offering from Crowe, whose best work includes the crowd-pleasing Jerry Maguire as well as Almost Famous.

Elsewhere, comedy a capella sequel Pitch Perfect 2 finished its third weekend with $14.8 million for a US total of $147.5 million, clinging to second spot, while Brad Bird’s troubled Tomorrowland: A World Beyond slipped from first to third (a drop of 58%) with an estimated $13.8 million, putting its 10-day US total to date at $63.2 million.

Mad Max: Fury Road placed fourth with $13.6 million for a US total of $115.9 million, while Avengers: Age of Ultron rounded out the top five with $10.9 million in the US and another $17.6 million internationally for a world total of $1.32 billion, including $225.5 million in China.

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