Skyscraper Information

Skyscraper is a 2018 American action film written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Mller, 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 criminals 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. The film was released in the United States by Universal Pictures on July 13, 2018, in 2D and Real D 3D, and has grossed over $281 million worldwide against its production budget of around $125 million. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Johnson's performance and the film's suspenseful scenes, but criticized the script as clichd and too similar to The Towering Inferno and Die Hard.


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

Halfway through the construction process, rival gangsters under the control of Kores Botha, an international terrorist with ties to many major crime syndicates, decide to use their control of construction crews working on the skyscraper to extort millions of dollars in shakedown payments for preventing a massive strike of construction workers, potentially halting its progress. Zhao agrees 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. Zhao believes 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, because his bosses will kill him if he doesn"?t.

Meanwhile, a former decorated Marine, U.S. war veteran and retired FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader, 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 his full mobility. Sawyer is tasked with inspecting the Pearl, and Sawyer confirms to Zhao, security officers Sawyer"?s friend and fellow ex-FBI agent Ben Gillespie and Ajani Okeke, and insurance agent Mr. Pierce, the building"?s fire and security systems are secure, but he needs to inspect the offsite security center that controls the system. Zhao then hands Sawyer a tablet that gives full administrative access to The Pearl's computer systems that can only be unlocked by facial recognition.

While heading to the Offsite Security Center, a thief working for Botha attempted to steal the tablet from Sawyer but fails, resulting in Ben to reveal he is working with Botha so that he can ruin Sawyer out of jealousy, before attacking Sawyer to steal the tablet. Ben is mortally wounded, and warns Sawyer that Botha"?s men will kill him for the tablet before he dies. Botha"?s subordinate Xia steals the tablet, before infiltrating the security center and killing all the personnel there. Meanwhile, Botha and his men ignite the 96th floor of the building, triggering and activating the computer controlled advanced fire extinguishing hardware meticulously constructed throughout the skyscraper. A hacker at the Security Center then hacks The Pearl's security systems, locking out administrative access to The Pearl to Zhao and his team, as well as disabling all the fire extinguisher systems above the 95th floor, causing a growing impenetrable fire line, cutting off all rescue operations from below to assist the survivors on the upper floors. After doing so, Xia shoots the hacker. The local police, believing that Sawyer is involved, attempted to capture him. Sawyer, knowing that his family is trapped on the floors directly above the blazing fire, breaks free from the police. Inspector Wu sends a team of officers to capture Sawyer, as Wu wishes to question him. Sawyer climbs a crane and breaks into the building, escaping Wu"?s team.

Zhao and Akeke send two security guards to rescue Sarah, Georgia, and Henry from the fire, but the guards are killed in an explosion that destroys the nearby elevator, forcing them to navigate through the fire to the top floors, having been told to by Sawyer in a phone call. Zhao and Akeke, believing that Sarah, Georgia and Henry are dead, decide to evacuate all remaining personnel on board a helicopter at Pierce's suggestion, only for Pierce to reveal it was a trap and that he works for Botha. Akeke and the other workers are killed by Botha"?s men, but Zhao escapes and seals himself in his penthouse. As the family was heading up, Pierce, having been ordered to capture Sawyer"?s family, attacks them, but Sawyer appeared in time to kill Pierce. 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 ringleader. 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 force him to capture Zhao. Sawyer was then forced to scale outside the building to a wiring panel to disable the doors to the penthouse. After entering the penthouse, Sawyer informs Zhao of his predicament as Zhao reveals the reasons for Botha"?s attack. They plan to rescue Georgia. Sarah accompanies Wu and several other police officers to the Offsite Security Center, where they engage in a shootout with Xia and Botha"?s men. Most of Botha"?s men are killed, while Sarah knocks Xia unconscious. Sawyer pretends to give Zhao to Botha, only for Zhao to distract him allowing Sawyer to rescue Georgia. Zhao, Sawyer, and Georgia escape into the top of the Pearl, where Botha and his remaining men follow them. Zhao and Sawyer kill Botha"?s men, but Botha injures Zhao and takes Georgia hostage. Sawyer attacks Botha and pushes him off a ledge, where Botha is killed by his own grenade and rescues Georgia.

Meanwhile, Sarah finds the stolen tablet dropped from Xia and discovers that she can override 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, and a police helicopter rescues Sawyer, Georgia, and Zhao, who tells Sawyer he plans to rebuild the Pearl. Sawyer and Georgia reunite with Sarah and Henry, and the family leaves the premises.


  • Dwayne Johnson as Will Sawyer, a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and amputee, who now assesses security for skyscrapers.
  • Neve Campbell as Sarah Sawyer, Will's wife
  • Chin Han as Zhao Long Ji, a wealthy Chinese tech entrepreneur and financier of the Pearl
  • Roland Mller as Kores Botha, a Scandinavian terrorist kingpin
  • Noah Taylor as Mr. Pierce, one of Botha's mercenaries, impersonating an insurance agent
  • Byron Mann as Inspector Wu, leader of the HKPF response team
  • Pablo Schreiber as Ben Gillespie, Will's former colleague and friend, now secretly working for Botha
  • Hannah Quinlivan as Xia
  • Matt O'Leary as Skinny Hacker
  • McKenna Roberts as Georgia Sawyer, Will"?s daughter
  • Noah Cottrell as Henry Sawyer, Will"?s son
  • Kevin Rankin as Ray
  • Adrian Holmes as Ajani Okeke, Zhao's head-of-security and personal bodyguard
  • Tzi Ma as Fire Chief Shen



On May 26, 2016, it was announced that Legendary Entertainment had won the bidding war for a Chinese-set action adventure film, Skyscraper, in which Dwayne Johnson was set to play the lead. Rawson Marshall Thurber was attached as a scriptwriter, film director, and producer, while Beau Flynn produced the film through his Flynn Picture Company, with Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions, and Universal Pictures handling distribution rights. On June 22, 2017, it was reported that Neve Campbell had signed on to star with Johnson, who plays a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and war veteran, who is the head of security for skyscrapers. Maggie Q, Rachel Bilson, Jaimie Alexander and Mira Sorvino were also considered. In July 2017, Chin Han and Pablo Schreiber joined the cast of the film, in August 2017, Byron Mann and Hannah Quinlivan also joined, and a few days later, Variety reported that Noah Taylor had also been selected. On August 22, 2017, Roland Mller was added to the cast of the film, in one of the main roles.

Set design

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."


Principal photography on the film began on August 14, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia.


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. The film also secured a July 20, 2018 release date in China, a rarity as mainstream Hollywood films are seldom released there during the month of July, to make room for domestic films.

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

Promo posters in the form of The Towering Inferno (1974) and Die Hard (1988) were created, referencing the stylistic links between those films and Skyscraper.


Box office

, Skyscraper has grossed $66.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $215.2 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $281.4 million, against a production budget of $125 million.

In the United States and Canada, Skyscraper was released alongside the opening of 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. However, after making $1.95 million during 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. The film ended up debuting to $24.9 million, finishing third, behind Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 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 the crowded summer movie season, as well as the possibility that filmgoers had become tired of seeing Johnson so frequently (although the site noted that 72% of people who bought tickets to Skyscraper did so because of him). In its second weekend the film made $11.4 million and finished sixth, and in its third made $5.4 million, finishing ninth.

The film debuted to $47.7 million in China, finishing first at the country's box office and bringing the two-week global foreign total to $132.8 million. In its third weekend of international release the film added another $17.8 million, including $7 million in China (for a running-cume of $86 million).

Critical response

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 48% based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. 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." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

Alonso Duralde of TheWrap called the film a "satisfying summer thriller," while acknowledging the familiar plot, and 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." Varietys 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."

Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty found the film to be a weak remake of Die Hard, giving it 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." 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."

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