I somehow missed this during last night’s Super Bowl, but our director pal Rawson Thurber debuted his new trailer during the game. It’s Dwayne Johnson, a mechanical leg, a very tall building, a huge fire, and his family trapped inside.
OK, as someone with a fear of heights that can gleefully watch Pennywise torture children but has to look away when Tom Cruise leaps off of buildings, a few of those scenes in the trailer made my stomach flip. I understand logically that falling from 25 stories results in the same death as falling from 260 stories, but there’s something very helpless feeling about being that high up. It gives me vertigo.
Anyway, it’s very Die Hard, but what I appreciate about Thurber is that he doesn’t slap a brand name onto it to sell extra tickets. He’s quietly made three $100 million films now (Dodgeball, We’re the Millers, Central Intelligence) on modest budgets, and all three are original properties. This one — released in July — will no doubt become the fourth $100 million success for Thurber, and that is practically unprecedented in this era without adapting a familiar property. I mean, hell: 5 of the last 6 and 6 of the last 8 Spielberg films failed to crack $100 million, and all of those are based on preexisting properties or major historical events. It is a quietly an impressive feat.