The Rundown

Release Date: September 26, 2003

Don't even think about the people's strudel.

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After the very strong April 2002 opening for The Scorpion King, Universal Pictures is taking another chance with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in this action/comedy.

The Rock will star as a bounty hunter who is sent on assignment to an Amazon River jungle town called Helldorado, where he meets up with young treasure hunter (Seann William Scott), and they team up to take down the town's evil overlord (Christopher Walken) and make a few bucks in the process. Rosario Dawson also co-stars. Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) directs from a script by R.J. Stewart and James Vanderbilt.

The Rock's first starring vehicle, The Scorpion King opened to $36.1 million last year, but it was practically an afterthought a few weeks later by the time Spider-Man rolled around, finishing at $90.3 million total. Apparently, it was enough for Universal to give him another lead role and see if The People's Champ can really be the next big action star.

From the time it was first announced The Rock would be going into acting, I've always thought that while lots of action scripts would get thrown his way, where he really would shine is with a great comedy. The guy is one of the most charismatic wrestlers in history. He's provided numerous classic moments thanks to his hilarious interviews on WWE programming. This may be a "buddy" action/comedy, but it's certainly right up his alley.

There may be a big caveat this time around, though. Thanks to the filming and promotion for The Scorpion King, The Rock was only on WWE television for a few months before leaving again to film Welcome to the Jungle. Only until this year has he been seen again, cutting promos on location of the filming. Fans were very excited and forgiving about his first absence, and it may have very well been the height of his popularity.

His more recent appearances have drawn somewhat negative responses, perhaps as a backlash to his having "gone Hollywood," though his promos are designed to get that type of reaction from the crowd. In any event, it may be harder to market the film if The Rock is a "bad guy." But, storylines in wrestling can change from week to week, and this movie is still far away, so how wrestling fans will react to The Rock now doesn't really matter much. As release gets closer, however, having your movie star insult fans may not be the best course of action. It's also hard to label him a wrestler if he hardly ever, you know, wrestles.

Right now, pencil in Welcome to the Jungle for a similar box office path that The Scorpion King took. If the trailers show good action and humor, then Universal can hope for more. But since the WWE has been serious about making The Rock a bad guy, then there could be problems. (Tim Briody/BOP)

June 17, 2003

Welcome to the Jungle has undergone a title change. It is now listed as The Rundown.

August 21, 2003

Despite the generic new title of The Rundown, Universal may very well have a winner on their hands here. The trailer has been playing before Universal's American Wedding to generally hilarious results. The Rock clearly appears to be in his element here, as he doesn't have to deviate much from his wrestling persona. And hey, who doesn't like to see Seann William Scott get smacked around?

September traditionally produces a few sleeper breakout hits, and with a good marketing campaign over the next month, The Rundown is well on its way to ending up in that category. (Tim Briody/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Rundown
Main Cast Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken
Supporting Cast Rosario Dawson, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries
Director Peter Berg
Screenwriter Kario Salem, R.J. Stewart, James Vanderbilt
Distributor Universal
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 104 minutes
Screen Count 3,152
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Rundown
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Scorpion King, The 4/19/0236.08 37.51 3444 10475.00 10475.0 90.34 93.92 2.50
Rush Hour 9/18/9833.00 42.42 2638 12509.00 15469.6 141.17 181.50 4.28
Bad Boys 4/7/9515.52 21.51 2132 7280.00 9706.7 65.65 91.00 4.23
Bad Company 6/7/0211.01 11.44 2944 3739.00 3739.0 30.16 31.35 2.74



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