The latest trailer for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest action epic, Hercules was just released.
Directed by Brett Ratner, this action fantasy centers on Hercules who must avenge his murdered family and restore peace and justice to the kingdom – like Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules woefully attempted to do earlier this year.
This latest trailer is narrated by John Hurt and features solid visuals and the action looks pretty large, but in the end this one will rise or fall based on the box office strength of Johnson. So does he have all-by-himself box office capital after years of playing in ensembles or in previously established franchises?
For Johnson, this is another chance to prove that he can absolutely power a franchise all-by-himself. As we all know, he is known for jumping into preexisting franchises (G.I. Joe, Fast & Furious, etc.) and giving them an added-value boost. When he’s there from the ground floor, the box office fate is less certain. Truth be told, he hasn’t had an “all-by-myself” action hit since The Scorpion King back in 2002. That film, which was a spin-off prequel from his antagonist character in The Mummy Returns, opened with $36 million in April 2002 and earned $165 million on a $90 million budget. Other action pictures were financially underwhelming while Johnson found his best box office luck as part of an ensemble (Get Smart) or targeting kids (The Game Plan, Escape from Witch Mountain).
Even in the midst of Fast & Furious 6 ($788 million worldwide) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation ($375 million), solo Johnson vehicles like Snitch (admittedly more of a B-movie social issues drama than an action picture) earned $42 million. And in a summer where a Tom Cruise science-fiction adventure is considered somewhat of a box office long-shot going into its domestic opening weekend, the notion of a Johnson-fronted Hercules film isn’t a box office sure thing. Yes, it only cost $110 million so the chances of it not making around $300 million+ worldwide are pretty slim, especially with the standard 3D boost. But it’s not a guarantee.
Since Hercules is certainly not a brand name by itself at this point (see the $61 million-grossing Legend of Hercules from this past January) and Dwayne Johnson hasn’t had a box office test like this in ages, it will be an interesting one to watch.
We will see!
Hercules opens July 25, 2014
Check out the trailer below: