As the saying goes, where does a 400-pound gorilla sleep? Wherever he wants to. So where does a movie about a 400 foot tall gorilla open? All by itself.
Weekend Forecast for March 10-12, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
March 10, 2017
Extended universes are all the rage these days, so Kong: Skull Island is part of Warner Bros. idea to build a great big Public Domain Monster universe following 2014's (finally!) both commercially- and critically-successful run of Godzilla, earning suspiciously just over $200 million domestically and about half a billion worldwide. Stepping back a bit in time, this puts the time frame just at the end of the Vietnam War, with the titular Skull Island being located in South East Asia. Weaving the politics of the time into the film, we have a number of psychologically wounded vets and conspiracy theorists hunting for the great beast King Kong, making this feel like a cross between Apocalypse Now and, well, King Kong.
Upon reaching the island however, it turns out that Kong is just one of the monsters present and it's a full-on visit to the fireworks factory, with the human actors (an A-list case, including Sam Jackson, John C. Reilly, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson) mostly providing background noise and humor. Opening this sort of potential tent-pole action film in March is often kind of a worrying sign, and outside of that most recent Godzilla movie, these monster films have generally proven to be noisy bores that can't live up to the hype. I'm thinking here of things like Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans, or stretching the concept a little, Van Helsing or the other Universal monster universe movies. It's natural to be skeptical of the pull this film may have when it's failed so many other times before, including (at least in a critical sense), 2005's version by Peter Jackson. Memories of this kind of thing run long for audiences, even if that's sort of unfair – bad movies are just the ones that need to be remade.
And in this case, Hollywood may have finally got it right, as reviews are generally positive, praising it for delivering the gory goods, and having an actual point of view. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts follows in the footsteps of Gareth Edwards and Colin Trevorrow as a indie/TV director being given a giant action film as a test of ability/”he was cheap” assignment, and may be the next one to get into the big leagues based on this performance. It will still be difficult to get a huge opening weekend out of this thanks to the slightly gun shy action movie audience, but a solid $62 million is likely in store here.
If a superhero movie's ever going to have legs again, one would think it would have to be Logan. The gritty take on Wolverine's later days opened to $88 million on the strength of strong reviews and a series of excellent trailers and commercials that played up the idea that this was not necessarily the same kind of X-Men movie that we've seen in the last while. Word-of-mouth is unusually strong and could drive a decent second weekend, though that's a relative term. Probably anything better than a 50 percent hold could be considered a win, which would point to about a $47 million weekend, on the way to what could be a record number for the franchise of around $250 million.
Horror phenomenon Get Out had an outstanding second weekend hold of 85 percent, doubly remarkable for it being in the horror genre. Jordan Peele's debut film which satirizes racial animus is now in throwing distance of $100 million as it enters its third weekend, and with rapturous reviews and this solid hold, has to be thought of as the biggest box office story of 2017 so far. With all those factors, Oscars even have to be brought into the conversation, though it's obviously a long, long way to go for that. Projections of leggy films are difficult to make off just one weekend, as it could be a one-off, or could continue on for weeks and weeks. That said, I'd put an absolute floor of $150 million for its domestic total, with upwards of $200 million not being an unreasonable guess. I'll go slightly conservative for its third weekend, and give it about $22 million.
Spiritual self-help film The Shack debuted to $16 million based off its best-seller recognition but seems unlikely to make any kind of long-term run, as it's a fairly known quantity and a bit alienating with its subject matter. I'd expect $9 million this weekend.
Lastly, we have The LEGO Batman Movie, which crossed the $150 million mark mid-week. It should earn about $7 million more this week as it makes a beeline for $175 million domestic.