Skyscraper: the sky’s the limit for Dwayne Johnson

Skyscraper is the year’s biggest “not based on anything” studio release, and the weight of its expectations is resting on the broad shoulders of its affable lead, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson is one of a tiny handful of modern-day movie stars able to front mid-to-big budget vehicles based on their perceived value to the audience moviegoer.

And although Skyscraper comes hot on the heels of the abysmal Baywatch, it also follows Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which just passed Furious 7 in North America to become Johnson’s biggest domestic hit ever ($356m, not accounting for inflation) and $861m worldwide. Skyscraper‘s due out in July. Oh, and actually, even before that, there’s Rampage, the movie trailer that got me thinking about our Dwayne this morning.

Stranger than Fiction

Stranger than Fiction was playing on tv this morning while I was getting ready for work, and I could hardly drag myself away. I’d forgotten how much I really loved this sweet, whimsical, absurdist tale of a buttoned-up and completely anal IRS agent (Ferrell) who begins hearing a prim, British, female voice in his head, narrating his life with potentially devastating consequences…..

More surprising now, as I look back, I realize that this, one of my favorite films ever, was directed by Marc Forster, who went on to make Quantum of Solace and World War Z, both cracking, complex, big-budget action adventures. This is something quite different and really quite lovely.

Love, Simon

Love, Simon is something of a first; a major Hollywood studio production that does not diminish or ignore the fact that it’s essentially a gay teen love story in its marketing materials. Just look at the cheeky billboards erected in LA to promote the movie. We-ho – West Hollywood – is obviously the city’s main gay district.

This was all part of a text-based “Dear [blank]” campaign, pulling in a narrative device from the film with customized billboard and bus stop promos specific to different film markets. A second Los Angeles area advertisement, for example, reads: “Dear WeHo, I’m done keeping my story straight.”

In New York, signs proclaim, “If I can come out here, I can come out anywhere.” Ads in the nation’s capital say, “Dear DC, You seem confused. Good thing I’m not.” Other cities with tailored messages include Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and Dallas.

LA Times reports that Fox also created a postcard generator that allows users to create their own “Dear [blank]” graphics. The film’s official Twitter account used it to send words of encouragement to openly gay Olympians Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon.

So now all that’s left is to buy tickets to the film (so they get the message and make more movies like this…)

PS also check out the Dasani Water product placement in the top image.