No. 18 ‘San Andreas’ – 2015 Most Valuable Movie Blockbuster Tournament

When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

Warner Bros

Natural disaster movies were once a Hollywood staple, and New Line wanted to bring back the spirit of those Irwin Allen let’s-blow-s*hit-up epics that stopped being made when the Poseidon Adventure remake did so badly that it ended the run of an up-and-coming co-financier. What that film didn’t have was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He has been called “franchise Viagra” after coming aboard G.I. Joe and most significantly Fast & Furious, and improving the fortunes of those films on a global level, especially with the race car films. Here was an opportunity for Johnson to start his own franchise. That a sequel is in the works and Johnson is now anchoring new franchise hopefuls Central Intelligence and Baywatch speaks as much to the results of San Andreas as anything.

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

The bottom line is that when you blow up West Coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco and make it look convincing for a $110M budget and your gross outlay is primarily limited to one big star, you’ve got a good chance to make money. The film posted a $54M opening weekend in late May, and while it did not seem likely to the Warner Bros team when they set the 2015 schedule, the New Line-generated San Andreas was Warner Bros’ biggest film of the entire year and a bright spot in the studio’s otherwise forgettable 2015. A sequel is in the works, and San Andreas generated $88M in net for the studio, which works out to a 1.28 Cash on Cash Return ratio. That is good for 18th place in the Deadline rankings.

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