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The massive Nemean Lion? The razor-tusked Erymanthian Boar? The legendary three-headed dog Cerberus? The hissing Lernaean Hydra? None of these great beasts can compete to the unholy might of Hercules! Give this brawny warrior a club and he is unstoppable! At least it seems that way in Hercules' latest TV spot.
The 30-second commercial premiered last night at the MTV Video Music Awards, succinctly giving the event's audience a juicy taste of Dwayne Johnson's latest action adventure. Now you might worry that Hercules is showing off its best bits way too soon, but each of these battles is a part of this demigod's mythic 12 Labors. And all of these play as the precursor to Hercules' main plotline. Evan Spiliotopoulos and Ryan Condal drew inspiration not only from the Roman mythology, but also from Steve Moore's graphic novel Hercules. This adventure has the titular hero working as a mercenary. But while he is born to battle, Hercules faces his greatest challenge yet in taking on a tyrannical warlord.
Johnson stars as Hercules. Making up his enticing supporting cast are Peter Mullan, Joseph Fiennes, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell and Irina Shayk. Brett Ratner directs, making Hercules the follow-up to his 2011 action-comedy Tower Heist.
Notably, this will be the second Hercules release this year. But this Johnson-fronted feature is practically guaranteed to beat its previously opened predecessor, The Legend of Hercules.
Having debuted on January 10th, The Legend of Hercules starred Twilight's Kellan Lutz, who gave his all but could not make the Renny Harlin-helmed actioner worthwhile. Critics (myself included) loathed this release, which got a painfully low 3% on the Rotten Tomatoes scale. But we weren't alone. Audiences couldn't be bothered with this dreary drama, and after an opening weekend of $8.8 million, $70 million production took in just $18 million domestically, $44 mil worldwide. Basically, it was a big fat flop for Lionsgate.
Paramount has risked considerably more money on Hercules. It's speculated Ratner's version has a budget of upwards $110 million. But its chances seem better from the start, namely because of Johnson. The guy is like catnip for moviegoers. Last year he had a string of hits with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pain and Gain and Fast & Furious 6. These launched him to the top of Forbe's highest-grossing stars list, and proved audiences will turn out if producers just add The Rock.
Coming out in the thick of summer movie season, Paramount clearly has faith in Johnson's drawing power. But we'll see if Hercules can deliver big when it hits theaters on July 25th.