“Kong: Skull Island” stomped and roared its way to a strong first Friday at the box office, making $20.2 million from 3,846 screens.
The vigorous start puts the Legendary Pictures creature feature on pace to meet independent trackers’ early estimates of a $50 million opening weekend, possibly making as much as $54 million. “Kong” will also easily take the top spot from 20th Century Fox’s “Logan,” which made $10 million on its second Friday in theaters.
Premium screenings had a hand in helping “Kong” reach the $20 million milestone, as the film made $2.5 million from IMAX screenings. Still, the $185 million film will need help from overseas markets to become a big hit, as the film is expected to have a major drop-off next week with the release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Kong: Skull Island” puts a new spin on the tale of how humans discovered the mysterious Skull Island and the ape who rules over it. The film takes place in 1973, where a secretive government organization called Monarch funds a military expedition to the island to discover its secrets. There, the team finds 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.
“Kong: Skull Island,” produced for a hefty $185 million before marketing costs, has solid reviews so far. It is rated “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with 78 percent and has a grade of B+ on CinemaScore.
“Logan” and “Kong” were expected to go head-to-head at the box office this weekend, but it seems that the Wolverine film will face the same second-week drop off as its predecessors. “Logan” is now estimated to make $37 million in its second week, a 58 percent drop from its $88 million opening weekend. By comparison, previous “X-Men” films like “The Wolverine” and “Days of Future Past” suffered drop offs of 60 and 64 percent, respectively.
Still, “Logan” continues to be a big hit for Fox, which is on the verge of becoming the go-to destination for rated-R superhero flicks. By the end of this weekend, “Logan” is expected to cross the $350 million mark worldwide.
With “Skull Island” being the only major wide release this week, hold-outs filled the rest of the top ten. Third on Friday was Universal’s “Get Out,” which continues to hang on in the face of a tough March market. After a $34 million opening weekend and a $24 million second weekend, Universal now projects a $20 million third week after Jordan Peele’s horror film made another $6 million last night.
Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate’s “The Shack,” which made $2.6 million in its second Friday after a $16 million opening weekend, and Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie,” which made $1.7 million in its fifth Friday in theaters.