New Empire’ $75M, 2nd Best Monsterverse Opening

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FRIDAY NIGHT: This is how a great box office weekend should be. A studio goes into the frame expecting ‘X’, and they wind up with a substantially higher ‘Y’. It was definitely a good Friday for Legendary and Warner Bros with more walk-up business than expected as Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is now posting a $35M first day (plus previews) putting on the path to a $75M opening weekend. Also, the sequel nabbed an A- CinemaScore, which is the second best CinemaScore for a Monsterverse movie after 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which was also directed by Adam Wingard.

Godzilla x Kong‘s weekend is still the second best U.S./Canada start for a Monsterverse, but also the fifth best Easter weekend opening ever after Warner Bros’ Batman v. Superman ($181M), Universal/Illumination’s Super Mario Bros Movie ($166.4M), Universal’s Furious 7 ($161.2M) and Uni’s The Fate of the Furious ($107.3M).

We’ll have more for you in the AM.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: No monkey business here. Legendary and Warner Bros’ $135M production Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is blowing away projections with a $31M Friday (including last night’s Monsterverse-record $10M previews) and a 3-day of $67M at 3,861 venues. That’s the second-best stateside start ever for a Legendary Monsterverse film, ranking behind Godzilla’s $93.1M in 2014 and ahead of 2017’s Kong: Skull Island ($61M).

No, it’s not last year’s The Super Mario Bros Movie, which notched the second-best opening Easter-weekend opening ever at $166M, but it’s a substantial amount of money to keep turnstiles spinning. Rotten Tomatoes audience score has notched up to 93% for GxK.

Sony’s second Friday of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is $5.1M at 4,345 theaters, -68% from a week ago, for what’s shaping up to be a second frame of $14M, for a running total of $71.4M.

Third is DreamWorks Animation and Universal’s Kung Fu Panda 4 at 3,582 sites, which is seeing a fourth Friday of $4.3M and fourth weekend of $10.8M, -35%, for a running total of $152.2M.

Legendary and Warners also own the No. 4 spot with the fifth frame of Dune: Part Two, which is looking like $10.5M, -40%, for a running total of $251.7M. Nice hold at 3,136 theaters, and that’s without a ton of Imax screens. Friday is at $3.6M, -18%.

Fifth is Neon’s Immaculate at 2,362 theaters with a second Friday of $1M, -50%, and a second frame of $2.8M, -48%, for a running total of $10.7M.

FRIDAY AM: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire made $10M in previews, according to Warner Bros — the best ever for Legendary’s Monsterverse, beating the first film in the series, 2014’s Godzilla, which did $9.3M. There was a lot of walk-up business Thursday night. As we told you last night, the audience score on this is high. PostTrak is 5 stars. It’s a really fun creature feature with a lot of heart; heck, it’s even better than Jurassic World: Dominion. Seriously.

Tracking firm Quorum this morning raised its projections for the movie on the high end to $66M-$74M Godzilla x Kong is the only new wide studio entry this weekend.

Good Friday is always a big box office day, so we’ll see where this takes Warners. Per ComScore, 77% of K-12 schools are on break today, along with 39% colleges out. Monday after Easter also looks great with 57% K-12 schools off and 14% colleges.

Social media monitor RelishMix says that the social media universe across TikTok, Facebook, X, YouTube and Instagram is 508.8M, which is 39% ahead of sci-fi norms. It’s also not that far from Legendary/Warner Bros’ own Dune: Part Two, which had a reach of 575.7M.

While RelishMix says that word of mouth was mixed in advance of previews, perhaps sentiment will change. Remember, fans always come out on Thursday.

Reports RelishMix: “Devotees of the franchise are pumped about the latest installment, with the trailers sporting fan theories like ‘Could it be the Kong Titanus Tiamat killed? Or is it an insane war veteran from the Great Titan War?’ Fans also appreciate this film moving into the absurdity of its concept, saying ‘It’s such a good time to be a Kaiju fan. And I love how this series is leaning into batshit insanity’ as well as ‘This is so ridiculous! I can’t wait to watch it.’”

Elsewhere on Thursday, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire ranked No. 1 among regular-release movies with $2.7M at 4,345 theaters, -6% from Wednesday, taking its first week to $57.7M. While the movie opened higher than its 2021 predecessor Ghostbusters: Afterlife, $45M to $44M, the first week of Frozen Empire here is behind Afterlife by 9%. Remember, Afterlife played its first week over Thanksgiving.

Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

DreamWorks Animation and Universal’s Kung Fu Panda 4 posted a third Thursday of $2.1M at 3,805 theaters, +5% from Wednesday for a third week of $25M, running total of $141.4M. The fourthquel will eclipse the domestic take of Kung Fu Panda 3 today which finaled at $143.5M. KFP4 is pacing 14% behind 2008’s Kung Fu Panda‘s running domestic cume through three weeks.

Legendary/Warner’s Dune: Part Two did $1.9M at 3,437 in its fourth Thursday, -12% from Wednesday for a fourth week of $25.5M and a running total of $241.2M.

Fourth belongs to Neon’s Sydney Sweeney horror movie Immaculate, at 2,354 theaters. Thursday’s estimated $636K take ends the pic’s first week at $7.8M.

Fathom has another set of The Chosen episodes, which did around $494K Thursday at 1,037 locations.

FRIDAY 12:03 AM: In the wake of Dune: Part Two, Kung Fu Panda 4 and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Legendary/Warner Bros’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire continues to provide momentum to the box office following a lack of event titles in Q1 due to the strikes. Sources tell us that the Adam Wingard-directed monster mash movie is seeing $8M from Thursday previews that began at 3 p.m. in roughly 3,400 locations. That’s arguably the second-best previews ever for a Legendary’s Monsterverse movie, following the first Godzilla in 2014, which posted $9.3M. That Gareth Edwards-directed lizard romp went on to make $38.4M on its first Friday with a 3-day of $93.1M.

Warner Bros didn’t return request for comment on tonight’s estimates.

Opening domestic projections for Godzilla x Kong earlier this week were at $50M.

While Rotten Tomatoes critics gave GxK the second-worst reviews for the Monsterverse at 56%, RT audiences currently think it’s the best of the Legendary lizard/ape movies at 92%. We’ll see if that simmers down. Audiences’ previous fave in the series? 2021’s Godzilla v. Kong, which also was directed by Wingard and opened over the Easter holiday period to a $48.1M five-day — reigniting moviegoing following exhibition’s yearlong shutdown in major box office markets. GvK was available day-and-date in theaters and on Warner’s streaming service then called HBO Max.

GxK is expected to play in 3,850 theaters on Friday boosted by Imax, PLFs, ScreenX, D-Box and 4DX. There also will be some sharing of Imax auditoriums with Legendary and Warner’s own Dune: Part Two. That movie is the highest-grossing title of 2024 to date, with $239.3M stateside and near $600M worldwide.

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