Godzilla versus Kong: Roars of the New Empire

Godzilla versus Kong: Roars of the New Empire

"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire," a collaboration between Godzilla and King Kong, defied all expectations and shot to an opening weekend box office of $80 million.

The Los Angeles Times reports: Based on Sunday studio estimates, "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" defied expectations and opened to an impressive $80 million on 3,861 North American screens. The Godzilla-King Kong duo dominated expectations.

The behemoth merger between Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, which featured Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry, debuted at the second-highest grossing of the year, failing to surpass the $81.5 million mark set for "Dune: Part 2."

The opening weekend of "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire," in which the beasts unite rather than face off, was estimated to be closer to $50 million by projections.

"It is a cinematic event, and these iconic characters are performing actions we have never seen them do before," said Legendary's chairman of worldwide production, Mary Parent. "Large portions of the film are set in situations where the audience is placed in direct interaction with the characters; it's a very mythical experience."

Godzilla X Kong Art Reveals Team-Up Between Monsters

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire," which debuted at number one last week, debuted in second place with $15.7 million for a total of $73.4 million over two weeks.

"Dune: Part Two" maintained its momentum in its fifth week, grossing $252.4 million domestically and slipping to third place with an opening weekend haul of $11.1 million.

The last matchup of the two monsters from Warner Bros. and Legendary, 2021's “ Godzilla vs. Kong,” had a much smaller opening weekend of $48.5 million, but for a film slowed by the coronavirus pandemic and released simultaneously on HBO Max, it was a serious success that signaled what was to come for the pairing.

“It was a really big number all things considered,” Parent said.

The newer film had the second largest opening of the studios' broader MonsterVerse franchise. “Godzilla” raked in $93.2 million in 2014. It was the largest earner in the nearly 70-year cinematic history of the creature that originated and spent most of its screen life in Japan. It earned more than $200 million in North America and more than $500 million globally.

“Godzilla x Kong” arrives just four months after the most recent Japanese rendition, the critical favorite and Oscar winner “Godzilla Minus One.”

But there was obviously no Godzilla surplus for audiences, many of whom were willing to pay extra for IMAX and other special formats.

“These are literally two of the biggest movie stars in the world, and you have to see them on the biggest screen possible with the biggest sound possible,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore.

The combination of “Godzilla x Kong," “Dune Part Two” and “Ghostbusters" has placed the year to date 6 percent behind 2023, while it was 20 percent behind on the eve of the March 1 release of “Dune."

The Monsterverse's Only Hope Is for Godzilla x Kong to Make This  Controversial Move

“The industry was feeling pretty glum right before ‘Dune Part 2’ opened, but they've made up a lot of ground,” said Dergarabedian.

The summer is full of titles that are not guaranteed megahits but could strike large, including Ryan Gosling's “The Fall Guy" and the next installments of “Planet of the Apes,” “Mad Max,” “Inside Out” and “Deadpool.”

That brings cause for optimism as the theatrical movie business seeks to hold on, though it’s highly unlikely it will surpass 2023, which saw “Barbie” surpass $1 billion globally with its release-date companion “Oppenheimer” not far behind.

“'Barbenheimer'” is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime event," Dergarabedian said.

Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be disclosed Monday.

1. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” 80 million.

2. “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” $15.7 million.

3. “Dune: Part Two," $11.1 million.

4. “Kung Fu Panda 4,” $10.2. million.

5. “Immaculate,” $3.3 million.

6. “Arthur the King,” $2.4 million.

7. “Late Night With the Devil,” $2.2 million.

8. “Tillu Square,” $1.8 million.

9. “Crew,” $1.5 million.

10. “Imaginary,” $1.4 million.