The stage is set for a battle royale at the box office this weekend with heavyweight opener Kong: Skull Island hoping to dethrone reigning champ Logan from the top spot. Who will be victorious?
Kong comes into play with a proverbial monkey on its back: the simple fact that audiences have seen numerous King Kong movies over the decades, with the most recent being Peter Jackson’s divisive (but critically well-received), Oscar-winning 2005 edition. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, coming off his successful indie turn with 2013’s The Kings of Summer, takes the reigns of Skull Island in hopes of helping Warner Bros. set up their planned Kong/Godzilla cinematic showdown in a few years. Based on this film’s encouraging 80 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (from 81 reviews as of this publishing), he certainly looks to have held up his end of the bargain.
Genre fans are clearly excited about this fresh iteration of the iconic character. The complete absence of both the Empire State Building set piece and the “damsel in distress” Ann Darrow character aids the film’s attempts to give audiences something they haven’t seen in a Kong film before. In terms of what it does offer, the action-driven, light-hearted spectacle has been hailed as a major driver for audience interest. A strong ensemble cast and high-octane ad campaign that’s mimicked a hybrid tone of Mad Max: Fury Road and Apocalypse Now certainly haven’t hurt, either.
Traditional tracking and social media indicators currently suggest Kong: Skull Island should debut north of $40 million this weekend, with potential to approach $50 million or more.
The main hitch in its plan: Logan. Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine film continues to ride a wave of excellent word of mouth following its $88.4 million debut last weekend. Still, despite that film’s universal praise, its native franchise is notorious for front-loading even when the movie in question is lauded by audiences and fans. It wouldn’t be surprising for Logan to mute some of the upfront buzz for Kong this weekend, but odds slightly favor the chance we’ll be crowning a new weekend champion by the end of Sunday.
Check out our weekend forecast in the table below.
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through Sunday, March 12||% Change|
|Kong: Skull Island||Warner Bros.||$43,500,000||$43,500,000||NEW|
|The LEGO Batman Movie||Warner Bros.||$8,000,000||$159,160,000||-31.64%|
Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.