“Kong: Skull Island” bestrode the globe in its opening weekend.
The monster movie opened to a hefty $81.6 million in 65 foreign markets, pushing its global haul to $142.6 million globally. “Kong: Skull Island” is the latest attempt to revive King Kong. Cinema’s most famous gorilla first hit screens in the 1933 classic “King Kong,” a stop-motion touchstone that is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Other versions have been less successful. Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake divided critics, but went on to make $550 million worldwide. It was more warmly received than the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis version that was so maligned it almost sunk star Jessica Lange’s career.
Reviewers generally like this version, handing it a 78% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“The Kings of Summer”) makes his major studio debut behind the camera, guiding an ensemble cast that includes Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson. The film transposes King Kong to the waning days of the Vietnam War conflict. It topped the domestic box office, earning $61 million.
With a hefty $185 million production budget and tens of millions more spent on marketing and distributing the film, “Kong: Skull Island” needs to be a major hit overseas in order to justify its cost and banish the ghost of Fay Wray. Legendary and Warner Bros., the studios behind the film, have positioned “Kong: Skull Island” as part of a larger monster franchise. The first film, 2014’s “Godzilla,” earned $529.1 million globally. The plan is for King Kong and Godzilla to square off in a future chapter.
“Kong: Skull Island” did well in the United Kingdom, racking up $7.6 million. It made $7.3 million in South Korea, earned $6 million in Russia, and added $5.6 million to its haul from Mexico. The big test will be China, the world’s second-largest film market, where “Kong: Skull Island” touches down in two weeks.