Rampage is a 2018 American science fiction monster film directed by Brad Peyton, and loosely based on the video game series of the same name by Midway Games. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Åkerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye who must team up with George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size as a result of a rogue experiment, to stop two other mutated animals, a gray wolf and an American crocodile, from destroying Chicago. It is the third collaboration between Peyton and Johnson, following Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and San Andreas (2015).
Principal photography began in April 2017 in Chicago. The film was released in the United States on April 13, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, in 2D, RealD 3D and IMAX. It has grossed over $426 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for Johnson and Morgan's performances and the visual effects, but criticism of the screenplay and storyline. It is the all-time best reviewed film based on a video game, currently sitting at 53% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Athena-1, a space station owned by gene manipulation company Energyne, is destroyed after a laboratory rat (Larry) mutates and wreaks havoc. Dr. Kerry Atkins, the lone surviving crew member, is ordered by CEO Claire Wyden to retrieve research canisters containing a pathogen. Atkins is able to flee in the escape pod when the station implodes, but due to damage from the rat it disintegrates upon re-entry, killing her. The falling pieces leave a trail of debris across the United States, including the Everglades in Florida, where a canister is consumed by an American crocodile, and a forest in Wyoming, where a gray wolf is exposed to the pathogen.
Primatologist Davis Okoye, a former US Army Special Forces soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit, works at the San Diego Wildlife Sanctuary. He befriends a rare albino gorilla named George, whom he saved from poachers. Davis communicates with George using sign language and hand gestures. At night, one of the canisters crash-lands in George's habitat; George is exposed to the pathogen.
George grows considerably larger and more aggressive over time. Davis is contacted by Dr. Kate Caldwell, a genetic engineer, who explains that the pathogen was developed by Energyne to rewrite genes on a massive scale. She had hoped to advance CRISPR research as a potential cure for diseases but discovered Energyne's plans to use it as a biological weapon. The company fired her and got her sent to prison for attempting to expose them. George escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage at the preserve. Davis calms him down, but George is captured by a government team led by Agent Harvey Russell and put on an airplane. Meanwhile, Claire and her brother, Brett, send a squad of mercenaries to capture the mutated wolf, Ralph, but they are all killed.
Claire, hoping to capture Ralph and use George to kill Kate so they can cover up their plans, uses a massive transmitter atop the Willis Tower to lure all three of the animals—who have been engineered to respond aggressively to a certain radio frequency—to Chicago. George reacts violently to the sound and causes the plane to crash, though Davis, Kate, and Russell parachute to safety. George, who also survives the crash, joins Ralph as they make their way to Chicago. Davis and Kate are aided by Russell in stealing a military helicopter to go to Chicago themselves.
By the time they arrive, George and Ralph are tearing through the city, with the military struggling to contain the two. The situation worsens when the mutated crocodile, Lizzie, arrives and joins George and Ralph. Davis and Kate make a plan to steal a counter-serum, hoping that they can turn the mutated animals back to normal. They are able to reach Energyne headquarters at the Willis Tower and take several vials of the serum, but they are caught by Claire and Brett. Claire reveals that the serum only eliminates the animals' enhanced aggressiveness, rather than revert them to their normal sizes, meaning the other effects are irreversible. Claire shoots Davis, but he survives. When George climbs up to the top of the tower, Claire orders Davis to distract him while she attempts to escape with Kate held hostage at gunpoint. Kate slips a vial into Claire's handbag and pushes her towards George, who eats Claire alive along with the serum, killing her. Below, Russell takes incriminating evidence from Brett and lets him escape, albeit into the path of falling debris which crushes Brett to death. As the tower topples from damage, Davis and Kate survive by hovering in a damaged helicopter amidst the shower of debris.
With George returned to his normal personality, Davis stays in the city to help him defeat the other two monsters, while Kate and Russell rush to prevent the military from deploying a MOAB against the creatures. George and Davis trick Ralph into flying into Lizzie's jaws, which decapitates him, but George is overpowered by Lizzie and heavily wounded. Davis distracts Lizzie but is nearly killed himself before George stabs Lizzie with a rebar through an eye, killing her. With the threat neutralized, the airstrike is aborted. George and Davis, joined by Kate and Russell, help clear the city of debris and evacuate civilians.
- Dwayne Johnson as Davis Okoye, a former US Army Special Forces soldier as well as primatologist and head of an anti-poaching unit.
- Naomie Harris as Dr. Kate Caldwell, a rejected genetic engineer who teams up with Okoye.
- Malin Åkerman as Claire Wyden, the CEO of Energyne responsible for the infection and mutation of George, Ralph, and Lizzie with the mutagenic serum for Project: Rampage.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a government agent who works for the "Other Government Agency".
- Jake Lacy as Brett Wyden, Claire's dimwit brother.
- Joe Manganiello as Burke, the leader of a private military group.
- Marley Shelton as Dr. Kerry Atkins, a scientist and astronaut.
- P. J. Byrne as Nelson, a scientist and friend of Okoye.
- Demetrius Grosse as Colonel Blake
- Jack Quaid as Connor
- Breanne Hill as Amy
- Matt Gerald as Zammit
- Will Yun Lee as Agent Park
- Urijah Faber as Garrick
- Bruce Blackshear as Taylor
- Jason Liles as the motion-capture of George, an albino gorilla similar to Snowflake and one of the animals affected by a strange chemical that mutates them into colossal-sized monsters.
Warner Bros. acquired the film adaptation rights to the 1986 arcade game Rampage in 2009, as part of their acquisition of Midway Games for $33 million. The project was announced in November 2011, with John Rickard set as a producer. In June 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Dwayne Johnson was set to star, re-teaming with New Line and producer Beau Flynn, while the studio was looking for a director to start production in mid-2016. In July, it was reported that New Line was in talks with Brad Peyton to direct and produce. Peyton later stated that the film would "be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you'd expect." Between January and July 2017, the rest of the supporting cast was assembled.
Principal photography on the film began on April 17, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. The film also shot in Atlanta, Georgia.
The visual effects were primarily provided by Weta Digital. Effects supervisor Erik Winquist and a small crew travelled to Chicago to create a model of the Chicago Loop that would be destroyed in the climactic battle, learning the building materials and architecture styles. Up to 15,000 photographs were taken with 3D scanners, while motion cameras covered downtown Chicago. As reference for the building destruction, the artists studied both the World Trade Center attacks and implosions of buildings affected by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake in Weta's hometown of Wellington. One of the more challenging aspects for Weta was figuring out how the weight and mass of the monsters would affect the city environment and destruction.
Given Weta had plenty of experience creating animated apes in King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels Dawn and War, it helped the studio create George "in a much shorter time than it may have 10 years ago," according to Winquist. Motion capture coach Terry Notary even took a break from Avengers: Infinity War, which was also filmed in Atlanta, to help Jason Liles in his performance as George. On the other hand, the lack of motion capture for Ralph and Lizzie let the animators go loose with how these monsters were portrayed, such as "a wolf that has porcupine spines and wings".
The music was composed by Andrew Lockington. The film marked the 6th collaboration with director Brad Peyton. An exclusive track was also released by Kid Cudi titled "The Rage" which plays in the film's end credits. The soundtrack was released digitally on 13 April 2018 by WaterTower Music.
Rampage was released on April 13, 2018, in 3D and IMAX, by Warner Bros. Pictures, after initially being set for release a week later, on April 20. The release date was moved up after Avengers: Infinity War had also shifted its release up by a week, to April 27, so as to provide Rampage with a two-week cushion. The film was coincidently released 3 weeks after Pacific Rim Uprising, another American Kaiju film.
As part of the promotion, three new games were made available; one is a Browser game called "Rampage: City Smash", another an arcade beat-em up playing more as a redemption game, was made available on Dave & Buster's, and a free VR game called "Project Rampage VR".
Rampage was released on Digital HD on June 26, 2018, and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on July 17, 2018.
Rampage grossed $99.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $326.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $426.2 million, against combined production and marketing budget of around $260 million. In July 2018, Deadline Hollywood deduced the film would take two years of home media sales and TV deals to break-even.
In the United States and Canada, Rampage was released alongside the openings of Truth or Dare and Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, as well as the wide expansion of Isle of Dogs, and was projected to gross $35–40 million from 3,950 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $11.5 million on its first day (including $2.4 million from Thursday night previews), $13.9 million on Saturday, and a total of $34.5 million over the weekend, finishing first at the box office. Like many films starring Johnson, the audience demographics were diverse, with 43% being Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 19% African American and 14% Asian. The film dropped 41% in its sophomore weekend to $21 million, finishing second behind A Quiet Place, which was in its third week. In its third weekend the film fell 64% to $7.1 million, finishing fourth. It fell 35% in its fourth weekend, grossing $4.6 million and finishing fifth. In its fifth weekend it fell just 27% and grossed $3.3 million and finished seventh.
Internationally, the film opened day-in-date in 41 markets, and made $25.4 million over its first two days. In China, where it was projected to have a $60 million debut, it made $15.7 million in its first day, the third-ever highest for a Warner Bros. film. It went on to have a foreign debut of $114.1 million (for a global total of $148.6 million) in 61 countries. Its top markets were China ($55 million), the UK ($5.7 million), Korea ($5.7 million), Mexico ($4.8 million) and Malaysia ($3.5 million). In its second weekend overseas, it again topped the international box office with $57 million crossing $200 million, in which China brings $106 million alone. In China it grossed $27 million in its sophomore weekend dropping 50%, but nonetheles topped the box office. In its third frame overseas, it fell 72.6% and grossed $16.2 million from 61 markets. In its fourth weekend overseas, it grossed $13.7 million from 63 markets. The film opened in the Philippines atop the box office with $1.7M, and in France it opened at second place behind Avengers: Infinity War with $2.3M. In China it has grossed $156 million, making it Warner Bros.' second-biggest film ever in the market. It fell just 6% in France in its second weekend and has a total gross of $4.8 million. It opened in Germany with $1.6 million and ranking No.2 at the box office. As of May 20, the film's largest markets after China were Mexico ($12.8 million), United Kingdom ($12.4 million), Korea ($11.2 million) and Malaysia ($7.9 million). It opens in Japan on May 18 as its final market. The film was released in Japan on May 18, 2018 and debuted to $1.8 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 53% based on 225 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Rampage isn't as fun as its source material, but the movie's sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster." It is the best-reviewed live-action video game film in the history of the site. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported adult and children filmgoers gave it respective overall positive scores of 90% and 86%.
Variety's Peter Debruge gave the film a moderately positive review, saying, "However derivative it may be, Rampage knows its audience—namely, Transformers fans and kids born after 9/11 for whom elaborately orchestrated scenes of falling skyscrapers carry nary a whiff of real-world trauma...What director Peyton lacks in artistic vision he compensates for in his ability to wrangle such a CG-intensive production." Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film 2.5/4 stars, and wrote that "when Johnson is doing that movie action star thing he does so well and giant animals are going enormous-mano-a-enormous-mano, there’s undeniably goofy fun to be had. You just have to be patient during the downtime." The Mir Fantastiki review gave the movie 7/10, claiming it's a stupid movie, but one that's good at what it's supposed to be, and honest about not being any more than that.
Conversely, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, and said, "Rampage is a drag. Three times during the thing, I wrote down the phrase 'NO FUN,' with increasingly impatient underlines." In an article for The Hollywood Reporter, Nick Allen wrote about what he called the film's "disastrous" tone, saying that "despite the Rampage arcade cabinets being constantly visible in its villains’ headquarters, director Brad Peyton’s live-action adaptation comes off as too emotionally glib and mean-spirited, even for a mega-budget B-movie."
In late March 2018, German director Uwe Boll threatened to file a lawsuit against Warner Bros. if the studio did not change the film's title. Boll, who produced and directed an unrelated Rampage film trilogy, claimed that the Warner Bros. film will "shrink" his brand and revenues he could use for future installments of his Rampage films. He also went on to say that the Warner Bros. film "confuses the audience" and is "one of those typical feelgood, popcorn bullshit movies that the studios use to brainwash America even more!"
Differences between the video game series and the film