LOS ANGELES -- Dwayne Johnson and his gorilla buddy George might have scored the box office crown with a $34.5 million take for city-smashing action flick "Rampage" -- but the weekend's real winner knew how to speak softly and carry a big second weekend.
Falling shy of pre-release projections that pegged the $120 million-budgeted "Rampage" for an opening of $35 million to $45 million, the Warner Bros. and New Line release arrived in theaters with just enough of a box office bang to eke out a No. 1 opening over previous weekend winner "A Quiet Place."
Global audiences smelled what Johnson was cooking last December when he helped lead Sony Pictures' positively reviewed "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" to a colossal $950 million worldwide box office.
But "Rampage," in which he plays a primatologist trying to save the world and his primate BFF from a nefarious scientific experiment gone haywire, split critics down the middle with a 50 percent Rotten Tomatoes score even as audiences gave it an "A-minus" CinemaScore rating.
The Brad Peyton-directed action adventure took $114.1 million internationally in its worldwide debut for a $148.6 total and will have to lean heavily on Johnson's star power to keep a momentum that can offset the pricey budget.
Impressively, less than $2 million in ticket sales stood in the way of a "Quiet Place" upset by director-star John Krasinski, whose critically acclaimed tale about a family living in silence to hide from monsters came in at second with $32.6 million. That's a modest 35 percent decline from its surprisingly potent debut last weekend.
The tense genre film also stars Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds and is on the verge of breaking $100 million domestically, with a worldwide total of $151.3 million after 10 days in theaters.
The success of an inventive horror concept such as "A Quiet Place" coincides with the more low-hanging frights of Universal's "Blumhouse's Truth Or Dare," which landed a "B-minus" CinemaScore but an anemic 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Making the most of a gruesome plot inspired by the real-life game and tween catnip stars Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey, the critically panned PG-13 outing took in $19.09 million over the Friday the 13th weekend. Even so, made within the low-budget Blumhouse model, that's still a recipe for success.
Fourth place went to Steven Spielberg's pixel-party nostalgia-fest "Ready Player One," which fell a hefty 54 percent from last weekend but added $11.2 million to its coins for a total of $114.6 million domestic to date.