Skyscraper is a 2018 American action film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, and Hannah Quinlivan. The story follows a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper–the tallest in the world–after it is taken over by terrorists and set on fire. The first non-comedy of Thurber's career, it also marks his second collaboration with Johnson following Central Intelligence (2016).

Filming began in September 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was released in the United States by Universal Pictures on July 13, 2018, in 2D and Real D 3D, and has grossed over $67 million worldwide against its production budget of around $125 million. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Johnson's performance but criticized the clichéd script for being too similar to The Towering Inferno.

Plot Edit

Asian investors led by a high level financier have financed the construction of the world's tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong which they call "The Pearl" standing at 3,500 feet (1,100 m) and 225 stories tall. Although the construction nears completion on this super-skyscraper with all the floors already constructed, the construction process has not been without complications.

Half way through the construction process, rival gangsters under the control of Kores Botha, an international terrorist kingpin, decide to use their control of construction crews working on the skyscraper to extort millions of dollars in shakedown payments in order not to cause a massive strike of workers which would have halted further building. The financiers of the skyscraper agree to the shakedown amounts, but not without carefully tracking and recording Botha's international money laundering scheme in his attempt to "legitimize" the funds he has extorted. The financiers believe that the memory card they have created containing the money laundering tracking information on Botha will provide them with insurance against any attempt by Botha to extort money from them a second time. Botha learns of the existence of the memory card and makes it a personal priority to retrieve the memory card in order to destroy it and the incriminating information it contains.

Meanwhile, a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. Although having one leg amputated from the knee down from a previous mission, he is fitted with a modern prosthetic leg which keeps him fully ambulatory and capable of walking and running. Sawyer is tasked with inspecting "The Pearl," which houses several floors that function as their own society, and despite numerous risks highlighted by Sawyer, his bosses insist that it is impenetrable.

Later that night, Botha and his team of mercenaries ignite the 96th floor of the building blocking access to all higher floors and knocking out the computer controlled advanced fire extinguishing hardware which was meticulously constructed throughout the skyscraper. The intense flames cause an impenetrable fire line on the 96th floor cutting off all rescue operations from below to assist survivors on the upper floors. Using security information on a tablet they had previously stolen from Sawyer, the terrorists cause the police to suspect that Sawyer is the chief culprit of the sabotage and the police seek to arrest him. Sawyer, knowing that his family is trapped on the floors directly above the blazing fire, breaks free from the police and begins his ascent of the building to save his wife, Sarah, and their two children Georgia and Henry.

Upon nearly reaching the 96th floor, Sawyer decides his only hope is to now scale the building from the outside by climbing up the girders and columns left exposed by the terrorist's sabotaging of the building, and makes it to his family. They become partially separated in the chaos of the growing fire which is spreading to higher floors, but Sawyer manages to get Sarah and Henry to a partially functioning elevator. Sarah and Henry use the elevator for a free-fall escape with the plan to engage the emergency brakes to reach the ground safely. Upon reaching the ground floor, Sarah helps the police identify Botha as the main suspect and culprit. Sarah then explains to the police that she saw the terrorists carrying parachutes which explained how the terrorists planned to escape from the building.

When Sawyer finally locates Georgia, she has been abducted by Botha who uses her to negotiate his own escape from Sawyer and the surviving high finance officer left in the building. Botha is now the sole survivor of all the terrorists who have been killed. Botha is killed by Sawyer, and Sawyer recovers his daughter as the flames continue to spread all around him to the very top of the skyscraper.

Meanwhile, Sarah discovers the stolen tablet following a shoot out with the police and the mercenaries at the parachute landing site. She discovers that she can over-ride the shutdown of the high-tech fire extinguishing capability built into the skyscraper by rebooting the computer system. The fire is rapidly brought under control. Sawyer and Georgia reunite with Sarah and Henry.

Cast Edit

Production Edit


On May 26, 2016, it was announced that Legendary Entertainment had won the bidding war for the Chinese-set action adventure film Skyscraper, which Dwayne Johnson would star as a lead.[1] Rawson Marshall Thurber attached as a scriptwriter, film director, and producer, while Beau Flynn would produce the film through his Flynn Picture Company, with Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions, while Universal Pictures would handle the distribution rights.[1] On June 22, 2017, it was reported that Neve Campbell had signed on the project to star along with Johnson, who would play a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and war veteran and now head of security for skyscrapers.[2] In July 2017, Chin Han and Pablo Schreiber joined the cast of the film.[3][4] In August 2017, Byron Mann and Hannah Quinlivan joined the cast, while a few days later, Variety confirmed that Noah Taylor had also been cast in the film.[5][6] On August 22, 2017, Roland Møller was added to the cast of the film for one of the main roles.[7]

Set designEdit

The architectural rendering of the 225-story tall skyscraper was based on Chinese inspirations, according to the New York Post: "Tasked with envisioning the architectural wonder at the center of the Hong Kong-set Skyscraper, production designer Jim Bissell and his team researched local myths for inspiration and came upon a Chinese fable they could work with."[8]


Principal photography on the film began on August 14, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[9][10][11][12]

Release Edit

Skyscraper was released in the United States, as well as several international territories, in 3D and standard formats on July 13, 2018 by Universal Pictures.[13] The film also secured a July 20, 2018 release date in China, a rarity as mainstream Hollywood films are seldom released during the month of July to make room for domestic films.[14]

Universal released the first official trailer in February 2018 and the second trailer on May 23, 2018.[15] Skyscraper premiered in Beijing, on July 1, 2018 and also held a screening in Hong Kong on July 7, 2018.[16]

Showing the stylistic links to Towering Inferno (1974) and Die Hard (1988), promo posters in form of the movie posters for those two films were released.[17][18]


Box officeEdit

As of July 16, 2018, Skyscraper has grossed $27.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $40 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $67.5 million, against a production budget of $125 million.[19]

In the United States and Canada, Skyscraper was released alongside Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, as well as the wide expansion of Sorry to Bother You, and was initially projected to gross $32–40 million from 3,782 theaters in its opening weekend.[20] However after making just $1.95 million from Thursday night screenings (down from the $2.4 million made by Johnson's Rampage the past April) and $9.3 million on its first day, weekend estimates were lowered to $24 million. It ended up debuting to $24.9 million, finishing third behind Hotel Transylvania 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Deadline Hollywood attributed the low figure to audiences having seen the plot before in other films and the July release date being in the height of crowded summer movie season, as well as possibly growing tired of seeing Johnson so frequently in films (although the site noted that 72% of people who bought tickets to Skyscraper did so because of him).[21]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 49% based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Well-cast yet derivative, Skyscraper isn't exactly a towering action thriller feat, but it's solidly constructed enough to stand among the genre's more mildly diverting features."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+ on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Alonso Duralde of TheWrap called the film a "satisfying summer thriller" while acknowledging the familiar plot, writing, "Skyscraper doesn't change the action-movie game the way Die Hard did, but it's a solidly entertaining summer diversion best enjoyed on the biggest theater — or even better, drive-in — screen you can find."[24] Variety's Peter Debruge was more critical of the story but praised Johnson, saying, "This is escapism, pure and simple, and though the structure is rickety, by enlisting Johnson, Thurber ensures that his Skyscraper is built on solid Rock."[25]

Chris Nashawaty writing for Entertainment Weekly found the film to be a weak remake of Die Hard giving the film a "C-" rating and stating: "It's all passively watchable, but the main problem is that writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence) hasn't come up with a villain nearly as memorable as Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. I know that comparison may seem unfair, but when you're ripping off Die Hard this shamelessly, it's kind of not."[26]

Alex Hudson of Exclaim! criticized the film's lack of originality, saying, "This flick is far too dopey to come close to supplanting Die Hard as the definitive tower-based action movie. Still, with its vertigo-inducing thrills, Skyscraper wins points for truth in advertising."[27]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Legendary Wins Bidding War for China-Set Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Action Movie (Exclusive)", The Hollywood Reporter, Prometheus Global Media (May 26, 2016). Retrieved on May 27, 2016. 
  2. "Neve Campbell Joins Dwayne Johnson In ‘Skyscraper’", Deadline Hollywood, Penske Business Media (June 22, 2017). Retrieved on July 28, 2017. 
  3. "‘Ghost In The Shell’ Star Chin Han To Scale ‘Skyscraper’ With Dwayne Johnson", Deadline Hollywood, Penske Business Media (July 26, 2017). Retrieved on July 28, 2017. 
  4. "Pablo Schreiber Joins Dwayne Johnson In ‘Skyscraper’", Deadline Hollywood, Penske Business Media (July 27, 2017). Retrieved on July 28, 2017. 
  5. "Legendary’s ‘Skyscraper’ Adds Byron Mann & Hannah Quinlivan", Deadline Hollywood, Penske Business Media (August 1, 2017). Retrieved on August 2, 2017. 
  6. "‘Preacher’ Actor Noah Taylor Joins Dwayne Johnson in Legendary’s ‘Skyscraper’ (EXCLUSIVE)", Variety, Penske Business Media (August 7, 2017). Retrieved on August 7, 2017. 
  7. "Roland Møller Cast In Rawson Marshall Thurber’s ‘Skyscraper’", Deadline Hollywood, Penske Business Media (August 22, 2017). Retrieved on August 22, 2017. 
  8. Miller, Gregory E. (July 12, 2018). The cool Chinese inspiration behind the ‘Skyscraper’ tower. New York Post. NYP Holdings. Retrieved on July 16, 2018.
  9. "Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson To Film In Vancouver", 604 Now (April 7, 2017). Retrieved on August 14, 2017. 
  10. "Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson reflects on first time in Vancouver - Surrey Now-Leader", Surrey Now-Leader (August 11, 2017). Retrieved on August 14, 2017. 
  11. "Actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson shares life lessons learned from Vancouver", The Vancouver Sun, Postmedia Network (August 10, 2017). Retrieved on August 14, 2017. 
  12. "Dwayne Johnson preps Vancouver filming", KFTV, Media Business Insight (July 19, 2017). Retrieved on July 28, 2017. 
  13. "Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Skyscraper’ Gets July 2018 Release Date", Variety, Penske Business Media (March 15, 2017). Retrieved on July 28, 2017. 
  14. Tartaglione, Nancy (June 26, 2018). Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Skyscraper’ Lands China Release During July Blackout. Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved on June 26, 2018.
  15. Carson, Rene (May 24, 2018). Universal releases second trailer for Dwayne Johnson action thriller Skyscraper. Retrieved on May 24, 2018.
  16. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Looks Dapper In Blue At 'Skyscraper' Beijing Premiere. Odyssey Magazine Publishing (July 2, 2018). Retrieved on July 3, 2018.
  17. Ryan Parker (2 July 2018). "The Rock Reveals Vintage 'Skyscraper' Posters With Nods To 'Die Hard,' 'Towering Inferno'", The Hollywood Reporter. 
  18. Josh Spiegel (14 July 2018). "Why 'Skyscraper' Couldn't Match 'Die Hard'", The Hollywood Reporter. 
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named BOM
  20. McNary, Dave (June 21, 2018). "‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ on Track for $40 Million-Plus Opening". Variety. Retrieved on June 27, 2018.
  21. 21.0 21.1 D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 15, 2018). Why Dwayne Johnson Pic ‘Skyscraper’ Went Up In Flames At The B.O. With $25M+. Penske Business Media. Retrieved on July 15, 2018.
  22. Skyscraper (2018). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on July 17, 2018.
  23. Skyscraper Reviews. Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on July 16, 2018.
  24. Durande, Alonso (July 10, 2018). ‘Skyscraper’ Film Review: Dwayne Johnson Checks All the Boxes in a Satisfying Summer Thriller. TheWrap. Retrieved on July 12, 2018.
  25. Debruge, Peter (July 10, 2018). "Film Review: Dwayne Johnson in ‘Skyscraper’". Variety. Retrieved on July 12, 2018.
  26. Nashawaty, Chris (July 10, 2018). Dwayne Johnson's Skyscraper really wants to be Die Hard and isn't: EW review. Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved on July 16, 2018.
  27. 'Skyscraper' Review: Dumb Plot and Vertigo-Inducing Thrills. Exclaim! (July 12, 2018). Retrieved on July 12, 2018.

External links Edit