‘Kong: Skull Island’ Conquering ‘Logan’ For Top Spot At B.O. With $53M – Midday Update

2ND Update Midday: Warner Bros./Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island is floating toward a $20M Friday –that’s 37% better Pacific Rim‘s first day ($14.6M) and $500K shy of San Andreas ($20.5M) — which points the monster pic toward an opening weekend of $53M. That’s based off of non-Warner Bros. reported matinee projections.

Overseas to date in two days, Kong: Skull Island counts $12M. All in, industry projections have the worldwide debut for the big tropical ape at $135M.

Warner Bros. and Legendary are so excited, they announced today that they’re putting together a writers room for Kong v. Godzilla led by Terry Rossio.

Older men, who made up most of yesterday’s audience at 39%, enjoyed the movie with an 80% overall positive score on Screen Engine/ComScore’s PostTrak. Younger guys under 25 (23%) love the Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson ensemble even more at 88%. Total audience definite recommend is at 60% which is alright. Overall, men repped 62% of Kong‘s ticket buyers, the over 25 crowd came out at 63%, with the overall positive score at 78%. Rotten Tomatoes rating, though certified fresh, keeps going back and forth between 79% and 80%.

Kong is leading a very prosperous time at the B.O.: projections for Logan are at $10M today, and $35M for Wolverine’s second weekend, which reps a 60% decline and by Sunday a 10-day running cume that’s just under $150M.

And Universal/Blumhouse’s Get Out? Rival distribution chiefs are besides themselves when they look at the hold for this Jordan Peele horror film that’s setting the standard: $6M today and $20M in its third go-round, -29%. The movie will cross $100M on Saturday. But Sunday it will stand at $110M, which will be 12% ahead of Split at the same point in time. That M. Night Shyamalan movie through yesterday counted $134.6M.

Lionsgate/Summit’s faith-based The Shack is looking at $2.2M in its second Friday and $8M for the weekend, -50% for a running total by Sunday that’s just over $30M.

1st Update, 7:19AM: Warner Bros./Legendary’s Kong: Skull Island started the weekend with Thursday preshows grossing $3.7M. Pic expands to 3,846 theaters today and will also be shown in Imax and 3D. The Jordan Vogt-Roberts film featuring Hollywood’s biggest, hairiest star is also pouncing in 65 offshore territories. Yesterday, he made a total of $3.3M from plays in South Korea, France, Russia, Indonesia, and hit No. 1 in those countries.

Kong: Skull Island is not cheap with a production cost of $185M-$190M before P&A. Global opening projections are at $135M, with stateside hovering between $45M-$50M per tracking earlier this week.

In the U.S./Canada, the great ape has the benefit of being the only major studio wide release — which is more and more a rare marketplace opportunity. However, if Kong is sweating and huffing a bit, it’s because 20th Century Fox’s R-rated Logan is on a tear with a first week’s cume of $114.8M. Should Logan dip slightly this weekend to the high $40Ms, and Kong sink below $50M, then Wolverine wins. Yesterday, Logan was the top film yesterday with $4.95M at 4,071 theaters.

Another perk for Kong: Skull Island is its 79% Certified Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, which is ahead of Godzilla (74% certified fresh), Pacific Rim (71% fresh) and San Andreas (48% rotten). The hope is that the critical warmth will yield more foot traffic for this WB/Legendary title of which they are equal partners.

One comp being looked at here is Warner Bros./New Line’s San Andreas which did $3.1M on its first Thursday, an $18.1M Friday and legged out a $54.5M opening. That’s a better three-day than Warner Bros./Legendary’s Pacific Rim which opened to $37.3M after a $3.6M Thursday and $14.56M Friday.

Still, Kong is much lower than both studios’ 2014 co-production Godzilla which minted $9.3M in its Thursday pre-shows, and continued on to make a Friday of $38.4M and $93.1M weekend. Kong crushes the $970K made by Legendary’s ambitious The Great Wall which posted a $5.88M first day and $18.5M weekend.

Universal/Blumhouse’s Get Out is definitely crossing $100M this weekend. Through yesterday, it’s up to $90M after ranking second with $2.6M at 2,938 venues.

Warner Bros.

Kong: Skull Island – Vietnam, giant spiders and Godzilla. Discuss with spoilers

Opinion on the latest reboot of the King Kong story has been split between US and UK critics. So is it a turkey or a triumph?

The king is back, and this time he’s got a backstory. Kong: Skull Island is the unexpected addition to the giant ape saga that began in 1933 with the classic monster movie King Kong, then returned in 1976 with the Dino De Laurentiis-produced remake and more recently took the form of Peter Jackson’s lovingly made 2005 iteration. But iconic franchises never truly die in Hollywood, and it was only a matter of time before we got another look at the colossal beast.

This being 2017, Kong: Skull Island delves deep into monster monkey mythos, adding a Ben Gunn figure (John C Reilly) who has been living on the island for 25 years and knows all about its terrifying ecosystem. It’s an approach that has paid off with some critics, with Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ monster epic having picked up an impressive 82% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes – though UK reviewers have been less kind.

So which is it? Here’s a chance to give your verdict on the movie’s key talking points:

The Vietnam-era setting and uneven tone
Jackson’s remake restored the action to the original 1930s setting, while the 1976 version was set in the contemporary period. Riffing off the latter, Vogt-Roberts chooses to imagine humans’ first visit to Skull Island taking place against a Vietnam war backdrop, with scientists and journalists accompanied by jaded US troops taking a detour on their way home.

If the aim was to add a dose of realism by bookending the fantastical action scenes with old-school newsreel-style footage, the ploy half works. But it also adds to the generally uneven tone: one minute we’re being cuddled up in a warm blanket of nostalgia, the next Vogt-Roberts seems to be adopting a B-movie approach – playing the admittedly camp material for laughs. The movie riffs heavily on Apocalypse Now in its depiction of an exotic wilderness riven by fire and desperate men, yet lacks the searing authenticity of Francis Ford Coppola’s sublime war movie.

The cast appear equally confused. Bar a few early scenes in which his role as the villain of the piece is firmly signposted, Samuel L Jackson is in full Snakes on a Plane mode, while Reilly’s turn as the last survivor of a previous landing on the island seems like it belongs in a Will Ferrell comedy. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston take things much more seriously, the latter adopting a tough former armed forces persona that’s almost indistinguishable from the role he played in The Night Manager. Still, the impressive ensemble – the excellent John Goodman also deserves a mention – do a decent job with lightweight material, wouldn’t you agree?

Skull Island
Kong himself remains the big draw. But the new movie vastly expands the scale of the ape’s home, a churning maelstrom of giant CGI beasts with Kong sitting pretty at the top of the food chain. Hats off to Industrial Light & Magic for the remarkable effects: I loved the huge arachnid, its spear-like legs camouflaged by its bamboo feeding ground. But does this really feel like a King Kong movie when we never get to see the giant ape in New York, scrambling across Manhattan skyscrapers while batting helicopters out of the sky?

The shonky plotting
There is always one character in King Kong movies who demonstrates the worst of humanity, illustrating our fear of nature and the sense that we might not, after all, be the Earth’s alpha male species. Presenting Jackson’s Colonel Packard as an emblem of America’s post-Vietnam bitterness certainly helps move the plot forward, as well as ensuring a level of titanium-strength scenery-chewing not seen since Nicolas Cage met the bees. But do you buy Packard’s Colonel Kurtz-like refusal to accept defeat?

Critical matters: The transatlantic split
Why has Kong: Skull Island found so much more approval in the US than the UK? Is there something about these big franchise movies that’s quintessentially American? “Run for your lives! It’s a 700ft turkey, making squawking and gobbling noises and preparing to lay a gigantic egg,” says the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw in his one-star review, while Little White Lies’ Adam Woodward, GQ’s Helen O’Hara and the Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey are among the other British critics lining up to take aim. Are they being harsh, or were you also distinctly underwhelmed?

Kong v Godzilla

What are we to make of the potential for Skull Island to help spin off yet another Hollywood cinematic universe, this time based on Legendary’s King Kong and Godzilla movies? Surely neither Gareth Edwards’ middling 2014 reprise for Toho’s giant radioactive lizard nor Vogt-Roberts’ film, are quite on a par with the first Iron Man movie or Star Wars: The Force Awakens as saga-building party starters? And is Kong really Kong if he makes it to the end credits to fight another day rather than suffering a tragic demise as a symbol of humankind’s destructive impulse to conquer nature?

Hollywood doesn’t have a great track record so far for “versus” movies: last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was notoriously badly received, and ended up winning four Razzies. Godzilla and Kong have both been heroic figures in their most recent big-screen adventures, which ought to make deciding who’s going to be the villain of the piece an interesting creative fandango. At the very least, wouldn’t you agree these films need to embrace their B-movie roots a little more enthusiastically if Godzilla v Kong is to roar its way to victory at the multiplexes?

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