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‘Rampage’ debuts at No. 1, but it’s sleeper hit ‘A Quiet Place’ that keeps rocking the box office

LOS ANGELES — Dwayne Johnson and his gorilla buddy George might have scored the box office crown with a $34.5 million take for city-smashing action flick “Rampage” — but the weekend’s real winner knew how to speak softly and carry a big second weekend.

Falling shy of pre-release projections that pegged the $120 million-budgeted “Rampage” for an opening of $35 million to $45 million, the Warner Bros. and New Line release arrived in theaters with just enough of a box office bang to eke out a No. 1 opening over previous weekend winner “A Quiet Place.”

Global audiences smelled what Johnson was cooking last December when he helped lead Sony Pictures’ positively reviewed “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” to a colossal $950 million worldwide box office.

But “Rampage,” in which he plays a primatologist trying to save the world and his primate BFF from a nefarious scientific experiment gone haywire, split critics down the middle with a 50 percent Rotten Tomatoes score even as audiences gave it an “A-minus” CinemaScore rating.

The Brad Peyton-directed action adventure took $114.1 million internationally in its worldwide debut for a $148.6 total and will have to lean heavily on Johnson’s star power to keep a momentum that can offset the pricey budget.

Impressively, less than $2 million in ticket sales stood in the way of a “Quiet Place” upset by director-star John Krasinski, whose critically acclaimed tale about a family living in silence to hide from monsters came in at second with $32.6 million. That’s a modest 35 percent decline from its surprisingly potent debut last weekend.

The tense genre film also stars Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds and is on the verge of breaking $100 million domestically, with a worldwide total of $151.3 million after 10 days in theaters.

The success of an inventive horror concept such as “A Quiet Place” coincides with the more low-hanging frights of Universal’s “Blumhouse’s Truth Or Dare,” which landed a “B-minus” CinemaScore but an anemic 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Making the most of a gruesome plot inspired by the real-life game and tween catnip stars Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey, the critically panned PG-13 outing took in $19.09 million over the Friday the 13th weekend. Even so, made within the low-budget Blumhouse model, that’s still a recipe for success.

Fourth place went to Steven Spielberg’s pixel-party nostalgia-fest “Ready Player One,” which fell a hefty 54 percent from last weekend but added $11.2 million to its coins for a total of $114.6 million domestic to date.

The Kay Cannon-directed “Blockers” came in fifth, slipping a steep 50 percent to add another $10.29 million to its $36.92 million domestic tally. Universal’s R-rated comedy starring John Cena, Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, Geraldine Viswanathan, Kathryn Newton and Gideon Adlon has notched $52.9 million worldwide to date.

Wes Anderson’s stop-motion outing “Isle of Dogs” went ambitiously wide but made just $5 million from 1,939 locations. The Fox Searchlight release added 1,385 locations from last week but saw a weekend box office bump of only 10 percent.

Three weeks ago, “Dogs” opened in limited release to the best per-screen average of the year but also faced criticisms of cultural appropriation, largely from the Asian-American community.

Elsewhere in canine cinema, upstart distributor Fun Academy unleashed the animated title “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” — and added an “A” CinemaScore to a robust 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating — also in wide release, but weekend grosses barely cracked $1 million.

Slipping into 755 theaters for a $1.65 million take was Bleecker Street’s R-rated Jon Hamm starrer “Beirut,” a CIA spy film directed by “The Machinist’s” Brad Anderson. Written and produced by Tony Gilroy, the film scored 78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It also stars Rosamund Pike.

The specialty release of note is Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Rider.” The award-winning drama from director Chloe Zhao stars Brady Jandreau as a former rodeo star redefining his sense of self after a devastating riding accident. It’s sitting pretty at 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

After premiering at Cannes, where it won the Directors’ Fortnight Art Cinema Award, the film opened to $45,268 from three theaters and solidifies Zhao as a rising director to watch.

Next weekend’s wide releases include STX Entertainment’s Amy Schumer vehicle “I Feel Pretty,” Fox Searchlight’s comedy sequel “Super Troopers 2” and Lionsgate and Codeblack’s thriller “Traffik.”


AP PHOTO 

This image released by Warner Bros. shows Dwayne Johnson in a scene from "Rampage."


'Full Metal Jacket' actor R. Lee Ermey dies at 74

LOS ANGELES (AP) — R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket,” has died.

Ermey’s longtime manager Bill Rogin says he died Sunday morning from pneumonia-related complications. He was 74.

The Kanas native was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his memorable performance in “Full Metal Jacket,” in which he immortalized lines such as: “What is your major malfunction?”

Born Ronald Lee Ermey in 1944, Ermey served 11 years in the Marine Corps and spent 14 months in Vietnam and then in Okinawa, Japan, where he became staff sergeant. His first film credit was as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” which was quickly followed by a part in “The Boys in Company C” as a drill instructor.

He raked in more than 60 credits in film and television across his long career in the industry, often playing authority figures in everything from “Se7en” to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake.

The part he would become most well-known for, in “Full Metal Jacket,” wasn’t even originally his. Ermey had been brought on as a technical consultant for the 1987 film, but he had his eyes on the role of the brutal gunnery sergeant and filmed his own audition tape of him yelling out insults while tennis balls flew at him. An impressed Kubrick gave him the role.

Kubrick told Rolling Stone that 50 percent of Ermey’s dialogue in the film was his own.

“In the course of hiring the marine recruits, we interviewed hundreds of guys. We lined them all up and did an improvisation of the first meeting with the drill instructor. They didn’t know what he was going to say, and we could see how they reacted. Lee came up with, I don’t know, 150 pages of insults,” Kubrick said.

According to Kubrick, Ermey also had a terrible car accident one night in the middle of production and was out for four and half months with broken ribs.

Ermey would also go on to voice the little green army man Sarge in the “Toy Story” films. He also played track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in “Prefontaine,” General Kramer in “Toy Soldiers” and Mayor Tilman in “Mississippi Burning.”

Ermey also hosted the History Channel series “Mail Call” and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey” and was a board member for the National Rifle Association, as well as a spokesman for Glock.

“He will be greatly missed by all of us,” Rogin said. “It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for.”

Rogin says that while his characters were often hard and principled, the real Ermey was a family man and a kind and gentle soul who supported the men and women who serve.


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