Rocking the box office

Aug 03 2014, 02:44 IST
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SummaryEven though Johnson is now one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars, he hasn’t forgotten what got him there. He keeps returning to the ring for events like Wrestlemania.

Those who watch World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will know one of its biggest stars, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He was multiple champion of the wrestling franchise, even though it’s more entertainment than pure wrestling. The Rock was called the ‘People’s Champion’ and became one of its most popular draws thanks to his chiselled body and signature moves. That also led to one of his best moves—Hollywood, where, thanks to franchises like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fast and the Furious, Johnson is now better known as Hollywood’s box-office champ. His latest movie, Hercules, has just opened in India and looks like being another smash hit. In 2013, the four films that Johnson starred in made more than $1 billion at the box office. Forbes named him the highest-earning actor in Hollywood. So how did a wrestler go from the ring to being one of the hottest stars in Hollywood? According to a profile in Business Insider, wrestling was always in his blood. He is of Samoan descent and his grandfather, Peter Maivia, was one of the first Samoan wrestlers. His father, Rocky Johnson, was a member of the first African-American tag-team champions.

Johnson first took to football. He was a high-school star and joined his college football team, the Miami Hurricanes, but then ended up playing in the Canadian Football League, making a measly $250 a week, and eventually got dropped. “There is no more football. My relationship was crushed. That was my absolute worst time,” he said. Johnson then looked at the family business—wrestling. He debuted on TV in 1996 as ‘Rocky Maivia’. The first third-generation wrestler in WWE’s history, he is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers ever. He won the WWE Heavyweight Title six times and held the Tag Team Title five times. Being an incredibly popular wrestler meant Johnson caught Hollywood’s attention. Other WWE wrestlers had acted in movies, from Steve Austin, John Cena, India-born giant, the Great Khali, Hulk Hogan and Triple H to name the best-known. None made it as big as Johnson. His first feature film was in 2001, The Mummy Returns, in which he played a villain. He reprised the role in The Scorpion King where he made $5.5 million, the most any actor has made for their first leading role. It wasn’t until 2003’s The Rundown that people began to see him as a legitimate action

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