On a weekend that was expected to be a head-to-head battle between “Kong: Skull Island” and “Logan,” “Kong” reigned supreme.
The Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures creature feature won the weekend easily with an estimated $61 million haul from 3,846 locations, well above the $45-50 million range where trackers had it pegged.
A mostly positive critical reception helped “Kong” triumph, as it received a 78 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ from CinemaScore. The appeal of seeing Kong on the biggest screen possible also played a factor, as the film made $7.6 million of its yield from 382 IMAX screens.
Still, with a budget of $185 million before its heavy marketing campaign, Legendary is going to need a strong showing from overseas markets for this film to see a profit. Though it performed above expectations, “Kong” still fell well shy of the $88 million opening “Logan” scored last week, as well as the $90 million opening made in 2014 by Legendary’s “Godzilla.”
With Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” expected to grab the lion’s share of moviegoers’ dollars next weekend, Legendary has set the release date for “Kong” in China to March 24 to give it a better chance of gaining legs overseas.
“Kong: Skull Island” puts a new spin on the tale of how humans discovered mysterious Skull Island and the ape who rules over it, replacing the filmmaker-funded expedition of the 1930s with a military unit in the 1970s. When the soldiers arrive, they find a WWII lieutenant (John C. Reilly), who has been living on the island with natives for 28 years and knows about the unending battle between Kong and a race of hostile giant reptiles who wiped out his species. As the expedition crew struggles to survive, some begin to realize that Kong is a monster worth protecting.
The blockbuster stars Reilly, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and Brie Larson. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the film is produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent and Alex Garcia.
Coming in second is “Logan,” which is estimated to make just under $38 million in its second weekend for a 57 percent drop off — the same percentage put up by Fox’s previous R-rated superhero hit, “Deadpool.” That gives “Logan” a $154 million domestic total against a $100 million budget, with the film about to cross the $350 million mark worldwide.
Coming in a very respectable third in its third weekend is Universal’s “Get Out,” which continues to defy the usual box office patterns for horror movies as it crosses the $100 million domestic mark. After a stronger-than-expected $34 million opening and a $24 million second week, “Get Out” held strong to gross an estimated $21 million in week three, bringing its cume to $111 million.
The continued success of Jordan Peele’s topical horror film, combined with the strong performance by M.Night Shyamalan’s “Split,” has led to a great first quarter of 2017 for Blumhouse Productions, which releases another horror film, “The Belko Experiment,” this Friday.
Rounding out the top five are Lionsgate’s “The Shack” and WB’s “The Lego Batman Movie.” “The Shack,” which comes off a $16 million opening weekend, made an estimated $9.7 million in its second weekend to bring its domestic cume to just under $32 million. “Lego Batman” made $7.6 million in its fifth weekend to bring its domestic total to $159 million compared to the $257 million made by “The Lego Movie” in 2014.