Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ “Kong: Skull Island” got a nice second wind at the international box office this weekend thanks to a strong opening in monster movie-friendly China. “Kong” opened to $72.1 million in the Middle Kingdom this past weekend, pushing the film’s global cume to $392 million.
WB’s decision to open their $185 million blockbuster in China two weeks after most other markets and one week after “Beauty and the Beast” worldwide opening paid off immensely, as “Kong” now has the second highest Chinese opening of 2017. It easily blew by the $44.5 million opening for “Beauty and the Beast” and was only second to the surprising $94 million debut enjoyed by “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” last month.
“Skull Island”‘s opening even came close to eclipsing the entire Chinese cume of Legendary’s 2014 entry in the “Godzilla” franchise, which finished its run with $77.6 million.
With “Skull Island” now about to pass the $400 million global mark and China once again established as fertile ground for creature features, prospects are looking good for the upcoming sequels to “Godzilla” and “Skull Island,” which will be part of Legendary’s MonsterVerse series. The series will continue in 2019 with “Godzilla: King of Monsters,” a sequel to the 2014 Godzilla that will star Kyle Chandler and “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown as a father-daughter pair whose relationship will play out in the shadow of Godzilla’s return.
“King of Monsters” will then set up a crossover between the two famous movie monsters in “Godzilla vs. Kong,” due out in 2020.
What remains to be seen is how well “Skull Island” can hold on in the coming weeks, with local action films like “Extraordinary Mission” coming out next weekend and Hollywood fare like “Ghost in the Shell” and “The Fate and the Furious” arriving in early April.
Next weekend marks the Qingming Festival in China, a three-day festival that serves as a major weekend for moviegoers. “Godzilla” did well in its first two weekends in China three years ago with a $36 million opener and a $32 million second frame followed by a heavy drop-off, as is common recently with Hollywood exports. But if “Kong” can keep it up this weekend, it will further brighten the prospects for Legendary’s film slate.