LOS ANGELES – In the box office war among beasts, Wolverine was no match for the return of King Kong.
“Kong: Skull Island,” from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, pulled in an estimated $61 million in the U.S. and Canada, performing well above expectations of $45 million to $50 million. It also brought in a massive $81.6 million internationally.
“We’re thrilled, happy and really excited by this tremendous result,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ distribution chief.
About explorers who land on an uncharted island that turns out to be Kong’s domain, “Skull Island” is a reboot of the 84-year-old piece of Hollywood history known all too well by audiences. It comes a decade after Peter Jackson brought “King Kong” back to the big screen.
The popcorn flick has been received well by critics and audiences alike. With a B-plus CinemaScore from moviegoers (56 percent male; 35 percent younger than age 25), it holds a 78 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The new movie, which was directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson, is the second installment in the studios’ planned series of monster films that started with Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” in 2014.
Although “Skull Island” didn’t come close to “Godzilla’s” $93 million debut three years ago, it does still have the potential to match the latter film’s final gross of $200 million in the U.S. and Canada, plus $328 million from other countries. The new picture did best the $50 million opening of Jackson’s “King Kong” from 2005. That picture went on to nab $218 million domestically and $332 million internationally.
WB and Legendary are hoping audiences around the globe will carry the $185 million “Skull Island.” Its $81.6 million international take, from 65 countries, is a good sign.
“Skull Island” will continue to benefit in the coming weeks, Goldstein said, from students on spring break, a demographic that gave the film an A CinemaScore.
In second place was 20th Century Fox’s “Logan.” After a better-than-expected $88 million debut last weekend, Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the claw-wielding X-Men mutant took in $37.9 million, crossing the $150 million mark domestically.
In third was Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions’ socially conscious thriller “Get Out,” which pulled in $21.1 million in its third week. The picture written and directed by Jordan Peele has taken in $111.1 million.
Lionsgate’s “The Shack” took fourth place in its second week with $10.1 million. Its domestic gross is $32.3 million.
Rounding out the top five was WB’s “The Lego Batman Movie.” The animated picture added an additional $7.8 million in its fifth week.
In limited release, IFC Film’s “Personal Shopper” opened in four theaters to $92,516. The picture, which revolves around a ghost story in the fashion underworld of Paris, stars Kristen Stewart and was written and directed by Olivier Assayas.
CBS Films’ “The Sense of Ending” also opened in four spots. Directed by Ritesh Batra and starring Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter and Michelle Dockery, it earned $42,000. Focus World’s “Raw” opened in two locations at $25,230.
This week, the much-anticipated “Beauty and the Beast” live-action film from Disney finally debuts. It will face BH Tilt’s thriller “The Belko Experiment.”
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