‘Godzilla x Kong’ Lights Up Easter Box Office With $80 Million Opening

March began with an excellent launch for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures with “Dune: Part Two,” and now it ends with another big opening weekend for “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” to the tune of $80 million from 3,861 theaters.

It’s an opening that blows past pre-release projections that were down in the $50 million range and nearly matches the $82.5 million opening of “Dune: Part Two” from the start of the month. It’s also enough to crack the top 5 highest openings ever on Easter weekend.

Overseas numbers have also been impressive at $114 million, giving “The New Empire” an excellent $194 million global box office launch. That’s a strong start for a film that carries a $135 million production budget that is financed 75% by Legendary and 25% by Warner. That overseas start includes a $44 million opening in China, down from the $69.2 million opening of “Godzilla vs. Kong” in 2021 but 71% above the Chinese launch of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” last year.

Like the “Jurassic World” films, “Godzilla x Kong” has the classic selling point of massive creatures smashing things up on the big screen, and audiences have responded by turning up in droves. As expected, the film’s opening night audience was male-skewing at 62%, with the highest age demo being the 25-34 cohort at 29%.

The other great bit of news for “Godzilla x Kong” is that word-of-mouth has been very strong with an A- on CinemaScore and a 93% Rotten Tomatoes audience score. Films like “Monkey Man” and “Civil War” that will be hitting theaters in April are likely to challenge for that core audience of male millennials, so having that strong audience buzz can give “The New Empire” a chance to leg out.

Warner Bros. and Legendary have been on a white-hot March, which started with critical and commercial success for “Dune: Part Two.” After five weekends in theaters, that sci-fi epic has now crossed $250 million in domestic grosses and $600 million worldwide, blowing past the $406 million global total of the first “Dune” in 2021.

But while Legendary is enjoying an excellent month, Sony/Columbia’s “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” is shaping up to be the big March tentpole that will get squeezed out by the competition unless families circle back around to see it during an April that will be light on new kid-friendly fare. Its second weekend total of $15.7 million is a 65% drop from its $45 million opening, the highest drop for a No. 1 release this month.

With a domestic total of $73.4 million, “Frozen Empire” is approximately 14% behind the $87 million two-weekend total that “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” accrued in 2021. The film has a running worldwide box office total of $108.5 million against a budget before marketing costs of $100 million, though the break-even point is reduced somewhat by the film’s co-financing deal with TSG.

Elsewhere among holdovers, Universal/DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 4” has passed $150 million in domestic grosses after earning $10 million in its fourth weekend. Neon’s horror film “Immaculate” completes the top 5 with $3.3 million, bringing its two-weekend total to $11 million.

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