Logan vs Kong: Battle of the Blockbusters
By John Hamann
March 12, 2017
Kong: Skull Island's only hope was that with Logan being rated R, maybe the kids would come out on Saturday and Sunday and push the weekend multiplier up. Jackson's King Kong multiplier was skewed due to opening on Wednesday near Christmas break. That multiplier was 3.4 (but should be thrown out). Godzilla had a Thursday included multiplier of 2.42, which shows that it was a May opener that was front-loaded. If the PG-13 Skull Island could pull a 2.7 or 2.8 multiplier, the blockbuster might be able to save face. It had the right things going for it. At Rotten Tomatoes, reviews were decent (but again, no Logan) coming in at 78% fresh with 171 positive reviews out of a possible 219. The Cinemascore was also just a touch off of Logan's A- score, with Kong: Skull Island earning a B+. Had it been any other weekend, Kong: Skull Island would be in decent shape; however, with Logan and Get Out taking $60 million out of the box office bag, Kong was destined to struggle, despite its size.
The $185 million Kong: Skull Island finished the weekend with a decent but unspectacular $61 million, though it still managed to get well past the $45 million tracking estimate. Warner Bros. Put Kong out to 3,846 venues, a count that also felt light for such an expensive film. Logan and Get Out would also be taking up some of the bigger theaters in multiplexes, again pushing Kong down. Kong ends up as the 11th biggest March opener, falling between Monsters vs. Aliens' $59.3 million and Cinderella, which opened to $67.9 million two years ago.
To be blunt, this opening is not big enough for a $185 million film - Kong: Skull Island needed at least a $75 million to start. For a film to be profitable, a blockbuster like this needs to make three times its budget worldwide to make up for those expensive marketing costs. Using that formula, Skull Island would need to finish with $550 million worldwide, so a $150 million domestic finish (if it's lucky) would mean the overseas box office would need to be at $400 million, a number that neither King Kong or Godzilla saw in their runs. Early reports have the opening weekend overseas at $81.6 million, so maybe there is still hope yet for old Kong, but it's doubtful.
That puts Logan in second for the weekend, but I don't think anyone at Fox will be complaining. After charging out of the gate last weekend with a $9 million preview and $33 million opening day, Wolverine was bound to tumble, mostly due to that out of hand Thursday showing. Logan earned $10.4 million on Friday, off a whopping 69% from opening day; however, if we pull the preview amount out, the drop is closer to 57%. Over its second weekend, Logan managed $37.8 million, giving it a second weekend drop of 57%. The second film in the series, The Wolverine, dropped 60% in its second weekend, but was working with much smaller numbers, opening to $53.1 million and dropping to $21.3 million. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened to a similar $85 million and dropped 69% to $26.4 million. Logan will do better than the Origins film did, as the first film earned $180 million domestic, and Logan has already earned $152.7 million after 10 days of release. Overseas, Logan has already posted an out of hand score of $286 million, easily putting the $97 million budgeted Fox film in the black before the second weekend began.