It was expected that ‘Kong: Skull Island’ would take the top spot at the box office this weekend, but the Warner Brothers/Legendary monster flick actually exceeded expectations, taking in roughly $61 million, when it was only projected to perform in the $50M range, which would have been on par with the Peter Jackson-directed ‘King Kong’ which opened in December of 2005.  In fact, it was the Jackson film that was one of ‘Skull Island”s biggest obstacles, considering that that film is still new enough to be fresh on many film-goers minds.  But Jackson’s ‘Kong’ had the luxury of releasing during the holidays.  ‘Skull Island’ arrives during a seasonal lull at the box office.

One thing that slightly hampers this victory is that ‘Skull Island’ cost a whopping $185M production budget, not factoring in marketing, which is believed to be in the neighborhood of $136M.  But with an international haul of $142.6M for its opening weekend, this film should turn a profit fairly easily, even with a behemoth like Disney’s ‘Beauty & The Beast’ opening next weekend.

Definitely working in ‘Skull Island”s favor is the exceptional reaction from critics (79% on Rotten Tomatoes) and fans’ word-of-mouth (A- to A depending on demographics on CinemaScores).  The buzz is spreading through social media too, as hashtag activity affiliated with this movie tripled from Thursday to Sunday.  And a huge game changer with many is the realization that ‘Skull Island’ is NOT just another retelling of the familiar ‘King Kong’ story, but rather an unexplored chapter in the life of the humongous ape.

Here’s how the Top Five panned out:

  1. Kong: Skull Island (20th Century Fox/Legendary) – $$61M
  2. Logan (20th Century Fox) – $37.9M
  3. Get Out (Universal) – $21.07M
  4. The Shack (Lionsgate) – $10M
  5. The LEGO Batman Movie (Warner Brothers) – $7.8M

‘Get Out’ has hit $100M faster than any movie from the Blumhouse production studio, which specializes in low-budget horror (the ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Purge’ series).  Even more impressive: it has only been released in the U.S,!

Next week it’s beast vs. beast, as ‘Kong’ will surely topple before Disney’s live action adaptation of one of its most popular animated classics, ‘Beauty & The Beast’.  As we all know, there have been some protests, mostly from the Bible belt, over the decision to make the Gaston-worshiping fanboy LeFou (played by Josh Gad) a full homosexual in this version.  Some theaters have chosen not to screen the film, but… it’s Disney.  They’ll recover just fine.

Check back to see how the Top Five shuffles!

Source: Deadline