Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Godzilla x Kong Scores Monster Debut

The latest entry in WB's Monsterverse racked up $80 million, beating all estimates and earning it the second-biggest opening of the year so far.

by | April 1, 2024 | Comments


Warner Bros. must be wondering how much more money they would have in their coffers if they hadn’t streamed all their 2021 titles at the same time they were in theaters. Don’t mistake anything — we were all certainly appreciative of having the option at an uncertain time and feeling a momentary sense of normalcy, but this month makes one wonder. First, the second part of Dune grossed 2.5 times what Part One did and then some. Now, the titans of the Monsterverse have outperformed all the best guesstimates to have the second-best opening of the year and a chance to become one of the highest-grossing films of the enterprise.

King of the Crop: Godzilla x Kong Scores Monster Debut

From the start of the pandemic in March 2020 through the next year, movie theaters were on life support. There was some attendance, sparked by the release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet at the end of the summer and sprinkled here and there with audience members comfortable enough to mask up and venture out pre-vaccine. Through that whole first year, the best opening weekend was that of Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, which opened to $14 million almost a year to the day after Tom Hanks and the NBA told us that Covid was real. Two and a half weeks later, Godzilla vs. Kong entered theaters on a Wednesday and grossed $31.6 million over the weekend and $48.1 million in its first five days, and it became the first film of this era to crack $100 million.

But was it just a flash in the pan? A momentary excitement after a year of isolation and audiences communicating that Godzilla: King of the Monsters was not exactly what they signed up for? That was five years after Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla opened to $93.1 million and grossing over $200 million domestic and a year after Dwayne Johnson mixed it up with the video game giants of Rampage, which grossed about half that. King of the Monsters opened to $47.7 million and grossed less than $10 million more domestic than Rampage (which is not part of the Monsterverse but was nevertheless released by Warner Bros.) and $41 million less globally. Both were after the release of Kong: Skull Island, which did well enough with a $61 million start and $168 million finish and, like the 2014 Godzilla, earned over half a billion worldwide.

Godzilla vs. Kong gets a bit of a mulligan, cost-wise, given the limitations of its release, but King of the Monsters, while not a legendary disaster, did take a bath with its budget. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire may just be precisely what this series needed after opening to an estimated $80 million this weekend. After the $200 million pricetag on the 2021 film, Adam Wingard’s follow-up has the lowest budget of the lot at $130 million (just $5 million more than the reviled 1998 film from Roland Emmerich). None of these films have been giant theatrical cash cows for the studio (Rampage actually turned a bigger profit than any of them). The New Empire’s 11th-best opening in March has it on a path for over $200 million right now, and if it can get itself back over the half-a-billion line (it is currently over $194 million worldwide), we may see another clash or team-up of these titans soon enough.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Ghostbusters Falls to Second, Dune Hangs on to Third

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire must feel left out. From the previous films to open during the pandemic, Dune got a 101% bump to start this month and, barring final estimates, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire was bumped up 137% from back then. Meanwhile, Frozen Empire got a 1.02% bump and now may even be struggling to reach $100 million. The odds were very much in its favor last week, but after dropping 65% to $15.7 million, its 10-day total stands at $73.4 million. Now one could point to the fact that no film opening in March to gross $70 million in 10 days ever failed to reach nine digits. But we can point to one of the outliers mentioned last week that failed after opening to $40 million, namely the Power Rangers reboot of 2017. Those jumpsuits grossed $14 million in the film’s second weekend and tapped out just shy of $86 million. Frozen Empire is outpacing the Rangers by about $9 million right now and may not take as big a dive next week, but this is not good news for fans hoping for another installment. The film has only made another $35 million internationally for a global total of just $108 million to date for the $100 million production.

Doing better with families is Kung Fu Panda 4, which in its fourth weekend is still holding well with $10.2 million. That is right on par with the animated Home’s $10.6 million fourth frame back in 2015, and with $151.6 million, it’s about $9 million ahead of that film’s pace, putting it on a path to finish around $185-190 million, so its estimates are trending upwards. The film is over $347 million worldwide and can already boast a higher profit than any of the Godzilla or Kong films from the Monsterverse. Ahead of it again, though, is Dune: Part Two with $11.1 million and a total of over $252 million. That’s the eighth-best 31-day total for a film released in March and is now pacing for a final domestic total around $275-280 million. For the third straight week, it dropped less than 40% and has never dropped more than 44%. Worldwide it is over $626 million, a total only seven films reached in 2023, including Barbie and Wonka, also both released by Warner Bros.

In fifth place with $3.2 million is Michael Mohan’s Immaculate with Sydney Sweeney. The nun horror film from Neon has now grossed $11.1 million after a 39% drop, passing Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool from last year, which made $10.6 million. When Immaculate reaches $12.4 million, it will pass Three Identical Strangers to become the third highest-grossing film in the studio’s history behind only the Oscar-winning films Parasite and I, Tonya. Meanwhile, IFC Films has to love that word of mouth is out there on Late Night with the Devil. After an increase to 1,442 theaters, the horror film starring David Dastmalchian fell just 22% in its second weekend with $2.2 million, bringing its total to $6.29 million. It is now the fifth highest-grossing film in their history behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Boyhood, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and The Death of Stalin.

Outside of the top 10, Liam Neeson’s new film In the Land of Saints and Sinners opened in just 896 theaters from Samuel Goldwyn Films and grossed $1.05 million. Currently Fresh on the Tomatometer, it is the first positively reviewed film for Neeson since the 2019 drama Ordinary Love. No film since then has reached 50% with critics until now. Just below it is the story of an actual saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini, whose movie made $1.04 million to bring its total to $18.1 million.

Back inside the top 10, Mark Wahlberg and the dog named Arthur the King made $2.4 million bringing its total over $19 million for Lionsgate. The studio also has the horror film Imaginary, still hanging in the top 10 with $1.4 million and a total of $26.2 million. India had a trifecta of releases bringing in audiences this weekend. The Telugu film Tillu Square grossed $1.8 million, the Hindi heist comedy Crew made $1.4 million in 486 theaters, and the Malayalam film The Goat Life has made $600,000 since Thursday.

Rose Glass’ Love Lies Bleeding with Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian fell 59% and made $642,000 in its fourth weekend. Its total now stands at $7.1 million as it comes close to outgrossing A24’s wide release of Men back in 2022, which finished with $7.58 million. Wicked Little Letters with Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley made $87,000 in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles for Sony Classics. Finally, La Chimera grossed $45,000 for Neon in three theaters.

On the Vine: Monkey Man Challenges The First Omen

20th Century Studios and Disney had the good grace to avoid Easter and release The First Omen the week after. The last time they waded into these satanic waters in 2006, the remake opened to $16 million, and they are hoping they can best Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man. The latter had its premiere at this year’s South by Southwest festival to a rapturous response for the filmmaker and star. It currently has a 93% with critics who reviewed it there. That said, both films may end up battling it out for second place behind Godzilla x Kong.

Full List of Box Office Results: March 29-31, 2024

  • $80 million ($80 million total)

  • $15.7 million ($73.4 million total)

  • $11.1 million ($252.3 million total)

  • $10.2 million ($151.6 million total)

  • $3.2 million ($11.1 million total)

  • $2.4 million ($19 million total)

  • $2.2 million ($6.2 million total)

  • $1.8 million ($1.8 million total)

  • $1.5 million ($1.5 million total)

  • $1.4 million ($26.2 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros.

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