'Rampage's Original Ending Almost Caused Dwayne Johnson To Quit

Dwayne Johnson is serious about making sure audiences have a good time in his movies. He's so serious about it, in fact, that he came very close to walking away from Rampage, his new film based on the classic video game that's currently in theaters. Read about the Rampage original ending and why Johnson was so adamant about changing it below.

Rampage Original Ending

Spoilers ahead.

As it exists now, Rampage stars Johnson as a military man-turned-primatologist named Davis Okoye who rescues an albino gorilla named George from poachers and takes him to live at the San Diego zoo. A greedy company's genetic experimentation turns George, a wolf, and a crocodile into massive monsters, and as the film nears its end, Okoye is able to give George an antidote and the two of them team up to take down the other creatures as they "rampage" through Chicago.

A Rolling Stone profile of Dwayne Johnson features quotes from the movie star about the first time he read the script: "So the script comes in, and I'm reading it," Johnson said. "And at the end of it – George dies! I'm like, 'No. Did I miss something? George can't be dead.' But I go back, and yeah."

Not So Fast

Johnson fought the studio, director Brad Peyton, and the producers about this choice, even threatening to walk away from the movie if he didn't get his way:

"I don't like a sad ending. Life brings that s*** – I don't want it in my movies. When the credits roll, I want to feel great...We had a big meeting where they gave me all the reasons they thought George should die. He sacrifices himself saving the world. Killing these animals who had ill intentions to harm mankind. He sacrifices himself like a brave soldier. OK. But this is a movie! There's a crocodile the size of a football stadium – we're not making Saving Private Ryan.

My problem is I have a relationship with an audience around the world. For years I've built a trust with them that they're gonna come to my movies and feel good. So every once in a while, you have to drop this card, which is: You're gonna have to find another actor. We need to figure something out, otherwise I'm not gonna do the movie."

A Compromise – But At What Cost?

The parties eventually came to a compromise, but the film's ending suffers for it. George is impaled with a piece of rebar during a battle and dramatically "dies," only for it to be revealed minutes later that he actually survived. The giant gorilla was merely pranking his buddy Okoye, and somehow managed to stop his breathing to such a convincing degree that he convinced a trained professional he was dead. It makes perfect sense that this was a point of contention, because it feels like a classic "having it both ways" scenario.

During his introduction at the film's world premiere and across his social media platforms, Johnson has been really hammering home the idea of making sure audiences are happy and energized when they walk out of the theater, and now we know why – it's his subtle way of flexing his muscle, telling the people he was arguing with that he was right all along. We don't know how much the ending has much to do with it, but Rampage is currently the number one new release at the worldwide box office, so I guess he's doing something right.