It was business as usual for WrestleMania XXIX headliner The Rock this weekend at the box office. Rock punched his clock in a starring role of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and the movie exceeded industry expectations with a strong showing of over $41 million.
The Rock's return on investment continues to set him apart from similar box office stars. WWE officials should be giddy when it comes to the potential for another big WrestleMania headlined by the people's champion.
WrestleMania XXIX has had quite the shaky build up. The Rock hasn't been around as much to promote his big rematch against John Cena, which is doubly problematic now that Rock is the WWE champion.
Other matches booked on the card have been thrown together like a blind date, making WrestleMania seem more like a Raw Active poll. Tons of Funk-Rhodes Scholars, Jericho-Fandango, Team Hell No-Big E. Langston, Barrett-Miz and The Big Show replacing Ryback to take on the Shield were all shotgunned in the month of March. WrestleMania is in April.
Retaliation's big weekend once again proved The Rock's Teflon qualities when it comes to bad press.
Originally scheduled for a summer release in 2012, the movie was delayed due to poor testing among focus groups. Advertisers had already lined up to promote the blockbuster film, which created more chaos around what had officially become a PR nightmare.
The build up to the G.I. Joe sequel couldn't have gone any worse if Channing Tatum was blown up on set.
However, with a couple of nips and tucks, G.I. Joe: Retaliation stayed the course and rebounded to the tune of the second-biggest Easter opening weekend ever. What better holiday to illustrate such a resilient release?
Maybe the WWE is justified in its apparent over confidence in Rock-Cena II after all. If The Rock can survive a Hollywood crisis situation the way he did this weekend, overcoming a poor WrestleMania build will be child's play.