Box Office Report: ‘Kong’ Rises Through the Weekend But Only Part Way To Success

Box Office Report: ‘Kong’ Rises Through the Weekend But Only Part Way To Success

Mar 13, 2017

Here's your estimated 4-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Kong: Skull Island - $61.0 million ($61.0 million total)

2. Logan - $37.9 million ($152.6 million total)

3. Get Out - $21.0 million ($111.0 million total)

4. The Shack - $10.0 million ($32.2 million total)

5. The Lego Batman Movie - $7.8 million ($159.0 million total)

6. Before I Fall - $3.1 million ($9.0 million total)

7. Hidden Figures - $2.7 million ($162.8 million total)

8. John Wick: Chapter Two - $2.7 million ($87.4 million total)

9. La La Land - $1.7 million ($148.4 million total)

10. Fifty Shades Darker - $1.6 million ($112.9 million total)

The Big Stories

For the third straight week we have a film opening that will get to $100 million. Not that it's the end-all gold standard anymore by it's still a bragging point that studios can use to justify their jobs. Beauty and the Beast will make it four next week but that is headed to $300 million. Disney jobs are safe. On the other hand the international market has become more important than ever on films that exceed the $150 million budget price tag as Kong: Skull Island did at $185. Yes, it beat Logan this weekend, much more handily than expected, but that budget number alone is unlikely to be reached without some serious help from overseas.


Better To Be King For a Night Than Schmuck For A Lifetime

Warner Bros. has certainly been trying to expand their franchise game as much as anyone of late. Their Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, was an $812 million worldwide success even if it did less money ($233.7 million) domestically than any other Potter film. They tried to bring Peter Pan back and failed. Last summer it was Tarzan’s turn. Huge budgets. Not enough turnaround. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, on the other hand, had just enough international appeal to make it a hit. $160 million budget. $529 million made worldwide. And now its time to put his nemesis in play. Never mind whatever sequel kicker may exist in Jordan Vogt-Robert’s Kong: Skull Island as the Kong vs. Godzilla production stories were out before the first box office numbers were released. It may not matter if Skull Island comes up a little short, but let’s examine its possibilities.

Part of the good news about Kong’s numbers is that they rose throughout the weekend. Tracking put it in the high 40s/low 50s. First estimates had it around $52-54 million and then it burst into a grander $61 million start. It is promising that word-of-mouth is better than expected. As the second best opening in March since 1998 with a “B+” Cinemascore (second only to Oz: The Great and Powerful) there is not a whole lot of data to make direct comparisons. We can say this much, though, that of the best ten “B+” openings in March in that time only three (Inside Man, Wild Hogs, Bringing Down the House) managed a 3x multiple. And #2-10 were openings between $24.4-$39.6 million, far less than Kong’s start. The average is even quite skewed thanks to Wild and House getting over the 4x mark. Averaging the other seven we get a multiple of 2.61 which seems like a fair number to start Kong at, especially with the next big beast ready to take it down next week. That would give Kong somewhere around $159 million as a first estimate; well below its $185 million budget, plus remember about half of that money goes to the theaters. With P&A costs added in, Skull Island is going to need to find about another $350 million internationally to make back its costs.


Tales of the Top Ten

We’ll get to Logan in a moment. Because the most impressive tale in this top ten continues to be Jordan Peele’s Get Out. The film dropped just 25% in its third weekend after just 15.4% in its second. Films don’t do that. Let alone horror films. This has become a cultural event with people I know personally with no interest in scary movies or bloody showdowns talking about going to see it. The film is $13 million ahead of the pace of Blumhouse’s Split and $7 million ahead of its third weekend opening. This is a movie headed for over $150 million on just a $4.5 million budget. This. Is. A. Thing!

Now back to Logan. Fox’s “R”-rated Wolverine film took a steep drop in its second weekend, facing better competition from Kong than some thought. It’s 57% decline is not the lowest amongst the X-Men series, but it is in the vicinity. Truth is that is about an average drop though many were hoping that the incredible word-of-mouth was going to challenge Kong for the top slot. Though that would have taken a double whammy of Logan WOM and a far-more average start for the gorilla. At $152 million Logan is about $10 million behind Days of Future Past total but about $5 million better on the weekend. Though at the same time it is about $5 million ahead of X-Men United’s total but $3 million behind on the weekend. Its total right now is looking somewhere between $214-233 million. So get out there fans if you want to make it the highest-grossing X-Men film to date. It has made over $343 million worldwide so far.

Not a whole lot else to report in the Top Ten this week. Lionsgate’s The Shack had a decent hold with its base and may find itself with over $50 million by the time Easter arrives. La La Land is making its run to over $150 million in the States and over $416 million worldwide. Hidden Figures has run its worldwide total to over $200 million. The Lego Batman Movie is over $268 million, John Wick: Chapter Two is over $153 and Fifty Shades Darker continues to lead the way with $368 million worldwide. Those are all hits if you are counting folks. Kong: Skull Island is hoping those same numbers can come up so it can join the party.

- Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]


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