Principal photography began in April 2017 in Chicago. The film was released in the United States on April 13, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, in 2D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats. It has grossed $286 million worldwide, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2018. It received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for Johnson and Morgan's performances and the visual effects, and disapproval of the writing and faithlessness to the source material; it is the best reviewed video game film of all-time, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
Athena-1, a research space station owned by gene manipulation company Energyne, is destroyed after a laboratory rat mutates and wreaks havoc. A crew member, Dr. Kerry Atkins, is ordered to retrieve research canisters containing a pathogen by CEO Claire Wyden. Atkins is able to flee in the escape pod, but it disintegrates upon re-entry, killing her and leaving a trail of debris across the United States, including the Everglades, where a canister is consumed by an American crocodile, and a forest in Wyoming, where a gray wolf is exposed to the pathogen.
Primatologist Davis Okoye, a former US Army Special Forces soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit, works at a San Diego wildlife preserve. He befriends a rare albino gorilla named George, whom he saved from poachers. One night, as Davis drives home from work, one of the canisters crash lands in George's habitat. George is exposed to the pathogen when he checks it out.
George grows considerably larger and aggressive overnight. Davis is contacted by Dr. Kate Caldwell, a genetic engineer who explains that the pathogen was developed by Energyne to rewrite genes on a massive scale.
Claire, hoping to capture Ralph and use George to kill Kate so they can cover up their plans, uses a massive transmitter atop the Willis Tower to lure the animals, who have been engineered to respond aggressively to a certain sound frequency, to Chicago. George reacts violently to the sound and crashes the plane. Davis, Kate and Agent Russell manage to parachute from the plane before it crashes. George, who survived the crash, joins Ralph as they make their way to Chicago. Davis and Kate convince Russell to help them steal a helicopter so they can get ahead of George.
With George returned to his normal personality, Davis stays to help him defeat the other two animals while Kate flees to prevent the military from dropping a MOAB bomb on the city. Russell is able to take a laptop of incriminating evidence from Brett before the latter is crushed by falling rubble. George and Davis trick Ralph into flying into Lizzie's jaws, which decapitate him, then George kills Lizzie by impaling her with a metal bar. With the threat neutralized, the airstrike is called off, and George helps in clearing the city of debris.
Dwayne Johnson as Davis Okoye, a primatologist and head of an anti-poaching unit.
Naomie Harris as Dr. Kate Caldwell, a discredited genetic engineer who teams up with Okoye.
Malin Åkerman as Claire Wyden, the terrorist CEO of Energyne responsible for the infection and mutation of George, Ralph, and Lizzie with the mutagenic serum for Project: Rampage.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a government agent who works for an agency called OGA.
Jake Lacy as Brett Wyden, Claire’s dimwit brother
Joe Manganiello as Burke, the leader of a private military group.
Marley Shelton as Dr. Kerry Atkins, a scientist and astronaut.
P. J. Byrne as Nelson, a scientist and friend of Okoye.
Demetrius Grosse as Colonel Blake
Jack Quaid as Connor
Breanne Hill as Amy
Matt Gerald as Zammit
Will Yun Lee as Agent Park
Urijah Faber as Garrick
Bruce Blackshear as Taylor
Jason Liles as the motion-capture of George, an albino gorilla similar to Snowflake and one of the animals affected by a strange chemical that mutates them into colossal-sized monsters.
Warner Bros. acquired the film adaptation rights to the 1986 arcade game Rampage in 2009, as part of their acquisition of Midway Games for $33 million. The project was announced in November 2011, with John Rickard set as a producer. In June 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Dwayne Johnson was set to star, re-teaming with New Line and producer Beau Flynn, while the studio was looking for a director to start production in mid-2016. In July, it was reported that New Line was in talks with Brad Peyton to direct and produce. Peyton later stated that the film would "be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you'd expect." Between January and July 2017, the rest of the supporting cast was assembled.
Principal photography on the film began on April 17, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. The film also shot in Atlanta, Georgia.
The visual effects were primarily provided by Weta Digital. Effects supervisor Erik Winquist and a small crew travelled to Chicago to create a better model of the Chicago Loop that would be destroyed in the climactic battle, learning the building materials and architecture styles. Up to 15,000 photographs were taken with 3D scanners, while motion cameras covered downtown Chicago. As reference for the building destruction, the artists studied both the World Trade Center attacks and implosions of buildings affected by the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake in Weta's hometown of Wellington. Given Weta had plenty of experience creating animated apes in King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequels, it helped the studio create George "in a much shorter time than it may have 10 years ago," according to Winquist. Motion capture coach Terry Notary even took a break from Avengers: Infinity War, which was also filmed in Atlanta, to help Jason Liles in his performance as George. On the other hand, the lack of motion capture for Ralph and Lizzie let the animators go loose with how these monsters were portrayed, such as "a wolf that has porcupine spines and wings".
Rampage was released on April 13, 2018, in 3D and IMAX, by Warner Bros. Pictures, after initially being set for release a week later, on April 20. The release date was moved up after Avengers: Infinity War had also shifted its release up by a week, to April 27, so as to provide Rampage with a two-week cushion. The film was coincidently released 3 weeks after Pacific Rim Uprising, another American Kaiju film.
As part of the promotion, a new version of the arcade game, playing more as a redemption game, was made available on Dave & Buster's.
As of June 25, 2018, Rampage has grossed $97.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $325.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $423 million, against a production budget of $120 million ($260 million including advertising and promotion costs).
In the United States and Canada, Rampage was released alongside the openings of Truth or Dare and Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, as well as the wide expansion of Isle of Dogs, and was projected to gross $35–$40 million from 3,950 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $11.5 million on its first day (including $2.4 million from Thursday night previews), $13.9 million on Saturday, and a total of $34.5 million over the weekend, finishing first at the box office. Like many films starring Johnson, the audience demographics were diverse, with 43% being Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 19% African American and 14% Asian. The film dropped 41% in its sophomore weekend to $21 million, finishing second behind A Quiet Place, which was in its third week. In its third weekend the film fell 64% to $7.1 million, finishing fourth. It fell 35% in its fourth weekend, grossing $4.6 million and finishing fifth. In its fifth weekend it fell just 27% and grossed $3.3 million and finished seventh.
Internationally, the film opened day-in-date in 41 markets, and made $25.4 million over its first two days. In China, where it was projected to have a $60 million debut, it made $15.7 million in its first day, the third-ever highest for a Warner Bros. film. It went on to have a foreign debut of $114.1 million (for a global total of $148.6 million) in 61 countries. Its top markets were China ($55 million), the UK ($5.7 million), Korea ($5.7 million), Mexico ($4.8 million) and Malaysia ($3.5 million). In its second weekend overseas, it again topped the international box office with $57 million crossing $200 million, in which China brings $106 million alone. In China it grossed $27 million in its sophomore weekend dropping 50%, but nonetheless topped the box office. In its third frame overseas, it fell 72.6% and grossed $16.2 million from 61 markets. In its fourth weekend overseas, it grossed $13.7 million from 63 markets. In France it opened at No.2 behind Infinity War with $2.3M. In China it has grossed $156 million to make it Warner Bros.' second-biggest film ever in the market. It fell just 6% in France in its second weekend and has a total gross of $4.8 million. It opened in Germany with $1.6 million and ranking No.2 at the box office. As of May 20, the film's largest markets after China were Mexico ($12.8 million), United Kingdom ($12.4 million), Korea ($11.2 million) and Malaysia ($7.9 million). It opens in Japan on May 18 as its final market. The film was released in Japan on May 18, 2018 and debuted to $1.8 million.
In an April 14, 2018, interview, director Brad Peyton was asked if the rat in the beginning of the film was based on Larry from the Atari Lynx port of the original game. Peyton responded, "We didn't name him Larry, but I'm going to use that, if there is a sequel, I'm going to make the rat's name Larry."