'Kong' Challenges Wolverine for Weekend Box Office Supremacy
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Kong: Skull Island delivered an estimated $20.25 million on Friday, which compares favorably to San Andreas, which brought in $18.1 million on Friday before opening with $54.5 million. Current industry estimates have Kong settling around $52-55 million for the weekend, but don't be surprised if it jumps a little higher. The film scored a "B+" CinemaScore, which is just a notch behind San Andreas' "A-".

We'll be back tomorrow with a complete look at the weekend estimates, you can browse all of the Friday estimates here.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Warner Bros. and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island brought in $3.7 million from Thursday night screenings in ~3,500 theaters, which began at 7PM last night. This is right on par with what Mad Max: Fury Road brought in before opening with $45.4 million and to look at the three films we called out in our weekend preview below as comparisons, they look like this:

  • San Andreas
[/link] - $3.1m preview / $54.5m opening
  • Pacific Rim
[/link] - $3.6m preview / $37.2m opening
  • The Legend of Tarzan
[/link] - $2.55m preview / $38.5m opening

We'll be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: It's King Kong versus Wolverine this weekend as Kong: Skull Island serves as the weekend's lone new wide release. Not only is Skull Island hoping to top the weekend box office as it could be looking at a neck-and-neck finish with last weekend's champ, but it hopes to join the ranks of recent hits such as Jordan Peele's low budget horror breakout Get Out and last weekend's $88.4 million debut of Logan, the fourth largest R-rated opening of all-time, as the box office has seen its share of star performers as of late.

Debuting in 3,846 theaters, Warner Bros. and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island is the second feature in the planned universe of films following 2014's Godzilla. Expected to follow Skull Island is the release of Godzilla 2, slated for 2019, and a Godzilla vs. Kong monster mash-up in 2020. Of course, first things first. 2014's Godzilla opened with a massive $93.1 million and went on to gross nearly $530 million worldwide on a $160 million budget. Kong: Skull Island carries a reported $185 million budget and current expectations are for a domestic opening around half of Godzilla's opening take.

Kong hasn't necessarily received glowing reviews, but they've been solid with a current Metacritic score of 62, matching the score for Godzilla with critics complimenting the film's monster-on-monster fight sequences while at the same time criticizing the film's human characters and dialogue. In terms of comparisons, we've been looking at comparable IMDb page view data for Kong versus films such as San Andreas, Pacific Rim and The Legend of Tarzan and, unfortunately, there is no clear consensus, though the numbers suggest an opening below San Andreas's $54.5 million debut should be expected.

That said, for a Warner Bros. action film* opening in this many theaters an opening around $42 million is the average. Take that into consideration with industry expectations, which have the film opening around $45-50 million, and our $46 million prediction seems reasonable. The question is to wonder just how many eyeballs Kong loses given Logan is only in its second weekend. Without Logan we'd be expecting a weekend over $50 million, but given the competition a slightly smaller opening seems a safer bet.

After opening with $88.4 million last weekend, expectation would be for Logan to dip anywhere from 52-58% in its second weekend based on factors ranging from its "A-" CinemaScore, 77 Metacritic score, MPAA rating, genre, etc. We're sticking to the lower end of that spectrum, anticipating a drop around 52.4% and a $42 million sophomore session, comparable to the second weekend drops of similar openers such as Skyfall and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. On the more extreme ends of the spectrum, Spider-Man 2 dropped only 48.7% after its $88.1 million, July 4 three-day weekend while Fast Five dropped 62.4% after its $86.2 million opening in 2011.

In third position we have Jordan Peele's Get Out, which not only enjoyed a stellar $33.4 million opening two weekends ago, but only dropped 15.4% last weekend as it will soon become the fifth 2017 release to top $100 million and the fourth Blumhouse Production to top the century mark, all on a measly $4.5 million budget. This weekend Universal is once again adding theaters, this time an additional 205 for 3,143 total, which should go a long way to another small drop. We're anticipating a dip around 31% for a $19.5 million third weekend, but wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it held on even better.

Lionsgate's The Shack delivered a solid, $16.2 million opening last weekend, the fourth largest (if you don't count the Narnia films) faith-based opener of all-time and with it came an "A" CinemaScore. A drop this weekend anywhere from 35-42% seems like a safe bet, and we're sticking pretty much right in the middle of that range, anticipating a $9.4 million second weekend.

Rounding out the top five is The LEGO Batman Movie, which has so far brought in over $150 million domestically and is looking to add another $6-7 million or so this weekend.

This weekend also features several limited releases including Focus World's horror Raw opening at the Landmark Nuart in Los Angeles and Angelika Film Center 6 in New York City and will expand further over the coming weeks. IFC's Personal Shopper from director Olivier Assayas, re-teaming with his Clouds of Sils Maria star Kristen Stewart, is opening in four theaters; CBS Films will release Sense of an Ending into four theaters; and FIP will debut Badrinath Ki Dulhania in 152 theaters where it should pull in around $1.5 million.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Kong: Skull Island (3,846 theaters) - $46.0 M
  • Logan (4,071 theaters) - $42.1 M
  • Get Out (3,143 theaters) - $19.5 M
  • The Shack (2,888 theaters) - $9.4 M
  • The LEGO Batman Movie (3,303 theaters) - $7.1 M
  • Hidden Figures (1,421 theaters) - $3.1 M
  • Before I Fall (2,346 theaters) - $3.0 M
  • John Wick: Chapter Two (2,031 theaters) - $2.8 M
  • La La Land (1,578 theaters) - $2.6 M
  • Fifty Shades Darker (1,495 theaters) - $1.9 M

*The "action" genre in this case includes films classified in BoxOfficeMojo as Action, Adventure, Action / Adventure, Action / Crime, Action Thriller, Action Fantasy and Action Comedy.

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