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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire grosses $80 million at the box office opening

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire grosses  million at the box office opening

LOS ANGELES – The Godzilla/King Kong co-production shattered expectations, with “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” grossing $80 million in its opening on 3,861 screens in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The major merger between Warner Bros. And Legendary Pictures starring Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry had the second-highest opening in what was a strong year, just shy of the $81.5 million debut of “Dune: Part 2.”

Expectations had set the opening weekend for “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” which sees the monsters teaming up instead of lining up, at nearly $50 million.

“It's a cinematic event, and we're seeing these iconic characters do things we've never seen them do before,” said Mary Barnett, head of global production for Legendary. “There are large parts of the film that don't have any dialogue, where we put you with the characters, and it's a very legendary experience.”

The movie “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” ranked first at the box office last week, in second place with revenues of $15.7 million, with a total of $73.4 million in two weeks.

“Dunes: Part 2” maintained its strength in its fifth week, falling to third place with $11.1 million and a domestic total of $252.4 million.

“It was a very large number by any standard,” Barnett said.

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“Godzilla x Kong” comes just four months after the last Japanese release of critical favorite and Oscar-winning “Godzilla Minus One.”

But there clearly wasn't an abundance of Godzilla for fans, many of whom were willing to pay more for IMAX and other special formats.

“These are literally two of the biggest movie stars in the world, and you should see them on the biggest screen possible with the biggest sound possible,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at data firm ComScore.

The combination of “Godzilla x Kong,” “Dune Part Two” and “Ghostbusters” has the year to date 6 percent behind 2023, while it was 20 percent behind on the eve of “Dune's” March 1 release.

“The industry was feeling gloomy before Dune Part 2 opened, but they were a huge success,” Dergarabedian said.

The summer is filled with titles that aren't guaranteed a hit but could be, including Ryan Gosling's “The Fall Guy” and the upcoming releases of “Planet of the Apes,” “Mad Max,” “Inside Out” and “Deadpool.”

This brings reason for optimism as the theatrical film industry seeks to hold on, though it is unlikely to surpass 2023, which saw “Barbie” surpass $1 billion globally with fellow release date “Oppenheimer” not far behind.

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“‘Barbenheimer’ is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Dergarabedian said.

Estimated ticket sales are Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final local figures will be published on Monday.

1. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” 80 million.

2. “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” $15.7 million.

3. “Dune: Part 2,” $11.1 million.

4. “Kung Fu Panda 4” at $10.2. million.

5. “Taher” movie, $3.3 million.

6- “King Arthur” movie: $2.4 million.

7. “Late Night with the Devil,” $2.2 million.

8- “Tillu Square” movie, worth $1.8 million.

9. “The Crew” movie, $1.5 million.

10. “Fantasy” movie, $1.4 million.