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HomeBox OfficeWEEKEND BOX OFFICE: GODZILLA X KONG Claims Second-Highest Opening Weekend in the...

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: GODZILLA X KONG Claims Second-Highest Opening Weekend in the WB Monsterverse

GODZILLA and KONG in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

It’s good to be the King. Warner Bros.’ Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is shaping up to have a monster-sized opening weekend as it takes in an estimated $80 million domestically on 3861 screens, the second-highest ever opener for Legendary’s 10-year-old Monsterverse. This #1 opener is far higher than even our highest estimates, which we capped at $65 million. A large piece of that came via premium formats, with 48% of business coming from IMAX, Dolby Cinema, PLF/Premium Large Formats, 3D, and Motion Seating. IMAX alone brought in $8.8 million, 11% of the nationwide total.

The PSA was $20,720K, the biggest of the weekend including limited releases, with Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas being the top three markets. Here’s how the three-day broke down:

  • Friday: $37 million (including $10 million in previews)
  • Saturday: $26.6 million
  • Sunday: $16.4 million

Top 10 Locations:

  • 1. AMC Burbank
  • 2. Regal Fresno Riverpark
  • 3. AMC Mesquite Dallas
  • 4. AMC Empire New York
  • 5. Regal Dania Pointe
  • 6. AMC Orange Los Angeles
  • 7. Santikos Palladium San Antonio
  • 8. Harkins Estrella Falls Phoenix
  • 9. Santikos Casa Blanca San Antonio
  • 10. Cinemark Tinseltown El Paso

Top 10 DMA Markets:

  • 1. Los Angeles
  • 2. New York
  • 3. Dallas
  • 4. Chicago
  • 5. Houston
  • 6. San Francisco
  • 7. Toronto
  • 8. Philadelphia
  • 9. Phoenix
  • 10. Washington DC

The international bow was no less robust, raking in $114M in 63 markets across 58,517 screens for a worldwide take of $194 million. The top non-US market was China, where it ranked #1 for the weekend and boasted high audience scores. GXK is exceptionally well-positioned for overseas, as a majority of its runtime has little to no dialogue. Other big markets were Mexico ($12.8M), India ($5.5M), and the UK ($5.3M). This also brought the Godzilla-Kong franchise past the $2 billion mark globally.

Let’s compare this film to previous North American Monsterverse openings, shall we?

  • Godzilla (2014) – $93,188,384 million ($200,676,069 domestic total)
  • Kong: Skull Island (2017) – $61,025,472 million ($168,052,812M domestic total)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) – $47,776,293 million ($110,500,138M domestic total)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) – $32,200,000 million ($100,916,094M domestic total)
  • Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire (2024) – $80 million

The new Godzilla X Kong has rewritten what looked like a predetermined script of diminishing returns for the franchise stateside. Keep in mind, that $80 million is 3/4’s the TOTAL domestic gross of 2021’s GvK, although that film was day-and-date to Max streaming during Covid, and did the bulk of its business overseas. So what did Legendary do right here? For one, they brought back director Adam Wingard after the global and streaming success of Godzilla vs. Kong, and like that film he kept the story fun and monster-forward, less concerned with the human drama or Monarch world building of the first few entries.

Another good reason for the film’s success is timing: It’s riding the coattails of the series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which premiered as Apple TV’s highest-rated first season drama, as well as the Oscar-winning Japanese entry Godzilla Minus One, which surprised by taking in over $56 million stateside, making North America its biggest territory. It seems that on the 70th birthday of his cinematic debut, Godzilla has truly arrived as a bonafide (imported) American icon.

One aspect that can’t be ignored is the extreme disparity between the critical and public reaction to Godzilla X Kong (55% on Rotten Tomatoes vs 93% audience score), not to mention the reported “A-” CinemaScore. As with most of the Japanese Godzilla films distributed by Toho (including 1962’s original team-up King Kong vs. Godzilla), the American GXK is aimed squarely at younger audiences who simply wanted to see a big monkey punch a big lizard… which they get, many times over. Even the historical/political dimensions of Godzilla Minus One were largely absent from this film. This was pure popcorn spectacle which delivered on action and goofy sci-fi thrills. Tellingly, PostTrak was 4 1⁄2 stars overall (out of 5), but with parents and kids the film scored 5 out of 5 stars.

Other Notable Performances

Sony’s legacy sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire dropped to #2 and took a -65% tumble in its second weekend for a projected $15.7M three-day, bringing its total domestic gross to $73.401M million through Sunday. Compare that dip to the -45% drop for Ghostbusters: Afterlife‘s second weekend in 2021, where it brought in $24,200,387 million. Clearly mixed word-of-mouth is not helping the $100 million dollar pic. Internationally Frozen Empire made $11.2 million from 7,500+ screens in 27 markets. The current international cume stands at $35.1 million with total global gross of $108.5 million.

Legendary and Warners started March off big with Dune: Part Two, which continues to hold strong at #3 with $11.1M domestic on 3437 screens. That -37% drop makes sense as Denis Villeneuve’s adult-leaning epic has little crossover with the company’s younger-skewing Godzilla X Kong. This week also marks the Dune franchise passing the $1 billion milestone globally, not too long after Ghostbusters pulled the same hat trick. Both cinematic franchises launched in 1984. Internationally Part Two generated $18.4M on 18,437 screens in 73 international markets for a current worldwide tally of $626.1M through Sunday.

The Indian Telugu-language rom-com Tillu Square took in an estimated $2,500,000 million in 450 locations, with a PSA of $5,556K. This was enough to nab the #6 spot, a win for Prathyangira Cinemas who previously released Salaar: Cease Fire — Part 1 in 2023 to $8.9M as well as Guntur Kaaram this past January with a $4.1M domestic gross.

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title Weekend Estimate % Change Locations Location Change PSA Domestic Total Week Distributor
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire $80,000,000   3,861   $20,720 $80,000,000 1 Warner Bros.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire $15,700,000 -65% 4,345 n/c $3,613 $73,401,000 2 Sony Pictures
Dune: Part Two $11,100,000 -37% 3,437 n/c $3,230 $252,390,000 5 Warner Bros.
Kung Fu Panda 4 $10,200,000 -38% 3,582 -223.00 $2,848 $151,652,000 4 Universal
Immaculate $3,265,000 -39% 2,362 8.00 $1,382 $11,128,192 2 Neon
Tillu Square $2,500,000   450   $5,556 $2,500,000 1 Prathyangira…
Arthur the King $2,400,000 -44% 2,525 -478.00 $950 $19,066,397 3 Lionsgate
Late Night with the Devil $2,205,693 -22% 1,442 408.00 $1,530 $6,294,451 2 IFC Films
Crew $1,700,000   486   $3,498 $1,700,000 1 Funasia Films
Imaginary $1,400,000 -50% 1,956 -557.00 $716 $26,235,054 4 Lionsgate
In the Land of Saints and Sinners $1,056,000   896   $1,179 $1,056,000 1 Samuel Goldw…
Cabrini $1,037,959 -27% 1,345 -420.00 $772 $18,142,347 4 Angel Studios
Love Lies Bleeding $642,735 -59% 858 -970.00 $749 $7,189,529 4 A24
One Life $474,410 -53% 578 -431.00 $821 $4,520,964 3 Bleecker Street
Bob Marley: One Love $435,000 -59% 593 -673.00 $734 $96,284,000 7 Paramount Pi…
Problemista $366,803 -19% 379 142.00 $968 $1,899,559 56 A24
Luca $220,000 -61% 1,390 n/c $158 $1,115,871 2 Walt Disney
Migration $140,000 -34% 271 -130.00 $517 $127,191,000 15 Universal
Ordinary Angels $106,000 -69% 306 -399.00 $346 $19,092,273 6 Lionsgate
YOLO $62,000 -47% 71 n/c $873 $1,881,000 4 Sony Pictures
The American Society of Magical Negroes $54,000 -87% 152 -1,001.00 $355 $2,449,000 3 Focus Features
La chimera $45,037   3   $15,012 $45,037 1 Neon
Carol Doda Topless at the Condor $31,438 -20% 24 20.00 $1,310 $78,249 2 Picturehouse
The Taste of Things $25,569 -36% 70 n/c $365 $2,630,285 21 IFC Films
Femme $24,030 39% 4 3.00 $6,008 $45,795 2 Utopia
Ennio $13,091 6.59 20 17.00 $655 $61,061 8 Music Box Films
Le Samouraï (1972) (Re-Release) $10,788   1   $10,788 $50,269 2,699  
Limbo $7,611 0.26 7 5.00 $1,087 $18,305 2 Music Box Films
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