Logan vs Kong: Battle of the Blockbusters
By John Hamann
March 12, 2017
Hearts at Warner Bros. must have sank last weekend when Logan broke out with a $88.4 million open, the fourth biggest ever for an R-rated release. Would there still be room for Kong: Skull Island and its massive $185 million budget?
Yes, with Logan looming large in its second frame, the pressure was even bigger for Warner Bros. and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island, as March blockbuster weekend part two of four got going this weekend. Studios went crazy this March, with big budget films peppering the schedule. Things got started with Logan and its $97 million budget last weekend. This weekend, Kong hits at a cost of $185 million. Next weekend brings Beauty and the Beast with a $160 million budget, followed by Life with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds and Power Rangers, at a cost of $105 million. Big budget releases are everywhere this March, so Kong: Skull Island was not only going to have to deal with Logan this frame, it would have to deal with all the others in the weekends to come, putting a ton of pressure on the big ape to have a big opening weekend - both at home and abroad.
Because of Logan's largeness last weekend, there were concerns mid-week that Kong: Skull Island might not even finish in first, should Logan post a drop akin to its Cinemascore (A-), and reviews (92% fresh). A 50% drop for Logan would put it at about $44 million, but given the massive opening weekend and big Thursday preview ($9 million) last weekend, the smart money was a on a bigger drop than 50% for Logan and Fox. Kong: Skull Island certainly didn't see a $9 million Thursday preview like Logan did. It had to settle for $3.7 million, less than half of Logan's good start, while carrying almost double the budget. While the swan song for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine might make it more front-loaded, this is still a pretty dismal Thursday preview for a film as big as Kong: Skull Island is. Logan earned just short of $5 million on Thursday night, already burying Kong despite being out for a week.
Kong: Skull Island's combined Thursday preview/Friday came in at a decent but unspectacular $20.2 million, not coming close to Logan's $33 million Thursday/Friday. Peter Jackson's version of King Kong had an opening Wednesday of $9.8 million – 10 days before Christmas, and that debut also struggled against a large budget, as it cost $207 million to make. King Kong went on to have a first Friday of $14.5 million, on its way to a Friday-to-Sunday opening of $50.1 million and a five-day of $66.2 million.The 2005 version of Kong likely lost money, given the $550 million worldwide take against that ridiculous budget. 2014's Godzilla makes Skull Island look puny as well, as it had an opening day of $38.4 million, as it rode toward an opening weekend of $93.2 million. Comparisons to monster movies were not looking good for Skull Island, as Warner Bros. became more and more dependent on overseas grosses as the weekend continued.