Years ago (feels like a loooong time now that I'm at the elderly age of 27), when I first started watching pro wrestling, The Rock was just starting to break out on his own.
I started watching in 1997, less than a year after Rocky Maivia debuted. He was supposed to be a fan favorite, but when fans weren't reacting favorably, the World Wrestling Federation made him a heel (or villain). That's when he showed some personality and became very popular -- a household name in fact.
Still, predicting that he would one day be a box office draw for major motion pictures would have gotten a lot of laughs. Yet that's exactly what happened. I figured he'd do well in the action genre, but I had no idea that he'd end up being all of the place.
On May 24 he'll be in Fast 6. That will be the fourth movie he's been in this year. He's signed on to be in Hercules and Journey to the Center of the Earth 3. Then there's The Hero -- the reality TV show that will debut on TNT June 6.
On top of all the movies and the TV show, Rock had a run as the WWE Champion, headlining Wrestlemania against John Cena. Making movies and wrestling in matches. The man is an android!
I'm not sure if the momentum will continue next year, but right now certainly seems to be The Rock's time to shine.
The first of Rock's movies this year didn't break any ground with it's release at the theatres. Snitch placed second, narrowly losing to Identity Thief. Neither movie would have likely fared very well if there was better competition that weekend though.
Still, the premise of Snitch sounds entertaining enough. A thriller about a man who is trying to rescue his son. That means there's likely to be a couple of car chases, some bullets being fired and lots of daring efforts.
G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation
After the initial release date was pushed back, rumors started flying that the film wasn't very good and that Paramount was trying to save it by preparing it for a 3-D release. If that was their strategy, it seemed to work. The second G.I. Joe movie opened to more than $130 million worldwide. Not shabby at all, especially since the first G.I. Joe wasn't as stellar as it should have been. It certainly looks like Rock would be poised to reprise his role in a third movie as well, but, then again, a lot of the characters from the first Joe movie weren't used, so it's hard to say what would happen in a third installment.
Pain and Gain
Honestly, this movie doesn't sound that incredible.
"From acclaimed director Michael Bay comes “Pain and Gain,” a new action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. Based on the unbelievable true story of a group of personal trainers in 1990s Miami who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong."
A bunch of muscled up body builders dressed in Zubaz and fanny packs set in Miami in the early '90s? Sounds like a movie I could easily pass on. That being said, maybe it would be one of those movies that surprises me. Every now and then there's a movie that looks horrible, that I expect to be horrible and that ends up being decent, if not good.
Pain and Gain didn't get my $5-$12 for a ticket, but it won the weekend when it opened. That's two opening weekend winners for The Rock this year and a close second with Snitch.
I'd mentioned previously that Fast 6 looks watchable based on the previews. That being said, I'll probably wait for it's arrival at Redbox. I didn't even see the fifth Fast and the Furious -- the one where Rock debuted in the series. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in lead roles in the same movie is a little too much bad acting for me. Maybe Rock made it bearable though.
If Fast 6 was opening at a different time, it may have a better chance. I think it will probably do well enough -- and will make money overall, including DVD rentals and sales -- but I don't think it will open at number one. It's facing the second week of Star Trek 2 and the debuting Hangover III. In addition, Iron Man 3 is still doing well. With competition like that, I don't see how Fast 6 can stand a chance.
I doubt this upcoming TNT reality TV series will last any longer than one season, but it is one more avenue for The Rock to make some money. He hosts the series that TNT describes as, "an epic competition testing the strength, courage, and integrity of a diverse group of nine individuals."
Each week a contestant gets eliminated. They'll be tested physically, mentally and morally. Yadda, yadda, yadda...sounds like a snoozer to me. We'll find out on June 6 though.
What lies ahead...
During his promotional rounds for G.I. Joe, The Rock mentioned wanting to jump in on the Transformers franchise and he mentioned having hopes of getting a part in the new Star Wars movies.
Nothing is solidified, of course, but since Pain and Gain director Michael Bay directed every movie of the Transformers series so far, so The Rock obviously has a connection.
Meanwhile, with Rock proving he can draw viewers to the theatres and being one of a handful of actors who can be a convincing leading man in an action movie, a role in Star Wars may not be that far-fetched.
Overall I think a congratulations is in store. You've come a long way from The Tooth Fairy, Dwayne.
• G.I. Joe: Retaliation - reviewed.
• Iron Man 3 - reviewed.
• Hollywood's Best Espionage Agents