Weekend Box Office: Viewers Go Ape Over ‘Skull Island’

The late winter North America box office continued to play like it is summer as Warner’s Kong: Skull Island became the new king of the box office jungle. Not to be outdone by the big monkey, Fox’s Logan and Universal’s Get Out also continued to be big draws. With three big films in the market –and more to come over the next few weeks-, the top ten rose a healthy 27% over last year at this time when Zootopia led with $51.3 million.

After a twelve-year absence from movie screens, the Eighth Wonder of the World is back in a big way with Kong: Skull Island. The $185 million Warner Brothers release scored a monster-sized $61 million from 3,846 screens in its debut, handily beating expectations that pegged the film to open in the mid $40 million range. The well-reviewed monster island epic from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) also scored $81.6 million from its international debut.

While Skull Island opened roughly 30% lower than Warner/Legendary’s last monster epic, 2014’s Godzilla, it hardly could be considered a disappointing launch. Godzilla had the good fortune to open during the lucrative summer movie season. It also opened on a weekend where competition was practically nonexistent. Given that Skull Island opened as big as it did against the likes of Logan and Get Out, its performance is all the more impressive.

Should word-of-mouth be as strong for King Kong as it was Old Man Wolverine, Skull Island could fight its way to a domestic gross close to $200 million, which is where Godzilla called it a day three years ago. One thing is for certain: the inevitable matchup between Godzilla and King Kong should be a box office monster when it arrives in 2020.

After dazzling the box office last weekend, Fox’s Logan slowed down by 57% in its sophomore session to earn an estimated $38 million from 4,071 theaters. The domestic total for the Wolverine swan song stands tall at $152.6 million. International totals currently stand at $258 million.

The second week hold for Logan beats the 60% drop The Wolverine experienced four years ago. The R-rated action drama also held better than the 65% slide X-Men: Apocalypse weathered last year the week after Memorial Day. Depending on how well the Grumpy Old Mutant holds over the next few weeks, Logan could be looking at a final domestic haul north of $225 million. That would make it the fourth biggest release of the X-Men franchise, surpassed only by 2014’s Days of Future Past, 2006’s The Last Stand and last year’s Deadpool.

While Kong: Skull Island and Logan have made the biggest headlines of late thanks to their big openings, the real success story of the late winter box office has to be Universal’s Get Out, which is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest horror films of all time.

Once again, the low-budget Blumhouse/Universal coproduction had a superb hold. Adding 205 screens in its third weekend -bringing its total count to 3,143-, Get Out eased a mere 25%, the best of any film in the top ten. For the weekend, Jordan Peele’s blockbuster earned an estimated $21 million. This brought its overall domestic total up to $111 million so far with a $170 million final domestic haul a strong possibility. Not bad for a production that probably costs less than one day of production on Kong: Skull Island.

Lionsgate’s religious drama The Shack also held well in its second round on 2,888 screens. Off 38%, the Octavia Spencer drama has earned a solid $32 million so far and could wind down with approximately $50 million.

Rounding out the top five was Warner’s The LEGO Batman Movie with $7.8 million from 3,303 theaters. Off 33%, the animated hit has earned $159 million after five weeks of domestic release. Overseas, Batman has scored $116.5 million.

  1.  Before I Fall (Open Road) $3.1 million (-34%); $9 million
  2.  Hidden Figures (Fox) $2.7 million (-28%); $163 million
  3.  John Wick: Chapter Two (Lionsgate) $2.7 million (-44%); $87.4 million
  4.  La La Land (Lionsgate) $1.7 million (-41%); $148.4 million
  5.  Fifty Shades Darker (Universal) $1.6 million (-54%); $113 million

Next weekend, March Movie Madness continues with the arrival of Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. The Mouse House’s latest license to print money is expected to open with at least $125 million. Also opening next week in limited release is the belated sequel Trainspotting 2, which has already earned $33.2 million from foreign markets.

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