‘Godzilla x Kong’ Beats Expectations With $80 Million Debut

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” stomped to the top of box office charts, collecting a better-than-expected $80 million from 3,861 North American theaters in its debut.

Heading into the weekend, the monster mashup was projected to earn $50 million to $55 million to start. But “Godzilla x Kong,” which sees the two otherworldly beasts team up to save the planet, trounced those projections after benefitting from several factors, including audience enthusiasm (it landed an “A-” CinemaScore”) and premium large formats (accounting for 48% of ticket sales).

It’s the second-biggest debut for Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse, following 2014’s “Godzilla” ($93 million) but ahead of 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island” ($61 million), 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” ($47.7 million) and 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong” ($31 million while on HBO Max). “Godzilla x Kong” also notched the second-largest domestic opening weekend of the year, barely trailing another Warner Bros. and Legendary tentpole, “Dune: Part Two: ($82.5 million).

“Godzilla” and “Kong” movies tend to be especially huge at the international box office, and “The New Empire” likely won’t be any different. “The New Empire” carries a $135 million production budget, so it needs to resonate with ticket buyers across the globe.

“Godzilla x Kong” took a sizable bite out of business for Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” which is targeting a similar demographic (and also coincidentally has the word “Empire” in the title). The supernatural comedy landed in a distant second place with $15.7 million from 4,345 venues, marking a steep 65% decline from its debut. After two weeks of release “Ghostbusters” has generated $73.4 million at the domestic box office and $108.5 million globally. It cost $100 million, not including hefty marketing expenses. Since theatres get to keep half of ticket sales, “Frozen Empire” will require some serious box office staying power to justify the studio’s return to the business of busting ghosts.

Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 4” remained in third place with $10 million from 3,582 theaters. So far, the animated family film has grossed $151 million in North America and more than $300 million globally.

“Dune: Part Two” dropped to the No. 4 spot in its fifth weekend on the big screen. The sci-fi epic has collected $9.85 million over the weekend and $251 million domestically to date. It’s currently the highest-grossing movie of the year with $600 million worldwide.

Sydney Sweeney’s religious horror film “Immaculate” rounded out the top five with $3.2 million from 2,362 locations, down 41% from the prior weekend. Neon is backing the movie, which has earned $11.1 million after two weeks in theaters.

More to come…


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