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Friday, June 21, 2024

‘Godzilla x Kong’ Targets $50 Million Opening Weekend

What happens when two otherworldly beasts team up to take on the box office? Theater owners will find out this weekend as “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” touches down in North America.

The monster mashup, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, is targeting $50 million to $55 million from 3,850 theaters in its first weekend of release. “Godzilla” and “Kong” movies tend to be bigger draws overseas, and “The New Empire” likely won’t be any different. It’s projected to bring in a mighty $80 million to $85 million at the international box office.

In terms of domestic ticket sales, “Godzilla x Kong” should land in the middle of its fellow MonsterVerse titles, behind 2014’s “Godzilla” ($93 million debut) and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island” ($61 million debut) but ahead of 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” ($47.7 million debut). It’ll also improve upon its predecessor, 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” but that’s not saying much. That film launched to $31 million while landing simultaneously on HBO Max. At the time, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was the biggest opening weekend of COVID times. It became a pandemic-era hit with $474 million worldwide, even outgrossing “King of the Monsters” ($387 million), despite the reality that many movie theaters were shuttered due to the virus.

“The New Empire” cost $135 million to produce. If the tentpole can near (or, ideally, surpass) the tally of “Godzilla vs. Kong,” it’ll be well positioned in its box office run.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” filmmaker Adam Wingard returned to direct “The New Empire,” starring Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry and Dan Stevens. Unlike prior iterations, which pit the creatures against each other, this film sees Kong unite with Godzilla to stop a mysterious threat from destroying the planet. Reviews for “Godzilla x Kong” remain under embargo. But if previous MonsterVerse entries — which were popular but not particularly well received by critics — are any indication, those seniments likely won’t play a big part in box office riches.

As this weekend’s only new release, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” will easily tower over box office charts. Elsewhere, holdovers like “Dune: Part Two,” the animated family film “Kung Fu Panda 4,” and “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” hope to keep selling tickets. Before the premiere of “Dune: Part Two,” overall North American revenues were 20% behind last year. But attendance has been slowly improving. Now, the box office is only down by 9%, according to Comscore.

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