This weekend saw only one wide new release, but Kong: Skull Island nevertheless faced some stiff competition for box-office dollars from a couple of heavy-weight holdovers. The well-received creature feature from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will rack up around $61 million for the weekend, which is either a success or a minor disappointment depending on one’s perspective.
The film opened with a modest $20.2 million Friday, but thanks to solid word of mouth and kind reviews (78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), it was an unexpected grower, improving on Saturday and adding $23 million to its weekend total. Moreover, compared to the $50 million opening weekend of Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong, Kong: Skull Island should also be seen as a success. Additionally, thanks to an impressive marketing effort over the last week, Kong: Skull Island will also end the weekend around with 35 percent more box-office dollars than tracking suggested only four weeks ago. A $60 million opening would also make it the 11th biggest opening weekend of all time in March.
So, it’s a big success, right? Actually, no. Not if you compare it to the $93 million that Godzilla made in its opening weekend in 2014. The $60 million is also a minor disappointment compared to the production cost of the film, standing at $185 million plus another $130 million spent on marketing. With a price tag like that, it has a steep hill to climb before it crosses over into the black (even with international box office receipts), and things are not going to get easier for the creature feature: It has to face off against Beauty and the Beast next weekend. Godzilla‘s $93 million only took it to a $200 million overall box-office, and Kong: Skull Island is unlikely to break $130-$140 million stateside, so it needs to do very well in China to eventually recoup costs for the Tom Hiddleston/Brie Larson starrer.
In other words, the jury is still out on Kong: Skull Island. How well it does in China may determine its success, as well as its ability to sustain what is now an expanded universe that is expected to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019 and Kong vs. Godzilla in 2020. No matter the ultimate outcome, however, a $60 million opening has to be considered at least a modest success for its director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, whose only other movie, Kings of Summer, made $1.3 million at the box office.
One factor that certainly did not help Kong: Skull Island’s weekend was the continued success of Logan, which Warner Bros./Legendary probably expected to perform like other Wolverine movies and quickly fade after its opening weekend. Not so for Logan, which has put up showy box office numbers and is expected to earn nearly $40 million in its second weekend after a hugely impressive $88 million opening weekend. Hugh Jackman’s swan song as Wolverine will end the weekend with $150 million overall stateside (and it’s already added around $200 million internationally). The $150 million after 10 days already puts it ahead of the $132 Wolverine made in its entire domestic box office run. If you’re looking for other records, Logan is also now the third highest grossing R-Rated comic-book movie of all time, behind only Deadpool and 300 and it is expected to take the number two spot on that list worldwide before it ends its run.
As for our sleeper designation, that title again belongs to Get Out, which is quietly trucking along at the box office, gobbling up another $21 million. It unexpectedly continues to cut into the competition, and it has now crossed the $100 million mark faster than any other Blumhouse movie (it beat M. Night Shyamalan’s Split by 3 days) and will end the weekend with $111 million, quietly making it the 5th highest grossing film of the year. It is expected to surpass Fifty Shades Darker for number four on that list next weekend. Split is currently the second highest grossing film of 2017, and Get Out is likely to pass it, as well, before it’s all said and done.
As for the other holdovers, there’s not too much to write home about. The Shack will add around $9 million to bring its overall total over $30 million after 10 days. LEGO Batman will end the weekend with around $160 million overall, which increases its lead as the top-grossing film of the year, so far. Before I Fall will barely add $3 million to its $6 million opening week, but on a $5 million budget, it still has a chance to see profitability. Hidden Figures is now up to $160 million; John Wick: Chapter 2 is slowing down now with an $87 million overall total (and it will fall short of $100 million). La La Land continues to trickle along, and it’s now crossed $400 million worldwide for Lionsgate, Meanwhile, Best Picture winner Moonlight just hit the $26 million mark, making it the highest grossing film ever for A24, surpassing Ex Machina and The Witch.
Check back next week when we see what kind of damage Beauty and the Beast can do to Kong: Skull Island and Wolverine, while the James Gunn scripted The Belko Experiment will open in 1200 theaters and Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting sequel will open in a limited run.