Weekend box office proves people like it when Godzilla and King Kong are friends

Godzilla and King Kong: Bros
Godzilla and King Kong: Bros

This week’s box office returns are poised to answer a question only rarely considered by the world of movie theater economics: Do people prefer it when a big lizard and an over-sized gorilla hit each other, or when they hang out and act like actual friends? By all early accounts, friendship is winning out—with Adam Wingard’s new MonsterVerse movie Godzilla X Kong set to out-perform his more combative predecessor, Godzilla Vs. Kong, in its opening weekend in theaters.

With $37 million in previews and opening night returns (per Variety), Wingard’s latest kaiju flick is on track to handily beat expectations, which had it set at a fairly shrug-worthy $50 million for the Easter weekend as a whole. Instead, it’s likely to land somewhere in the neighborhood of $67 million, which puts it at the second-best MonsterVerse opening to date, trailing only behind Gareth Edwards’ franchise-launching 2014 Godzilla film. Godzilla Vs. Kong, meanwhile, opened at a bit less than half that—although it’s worth remembering that that was deep in the lockdowns circa 2021, when the film was also simultaneously released on the service we then knew as HBO Max, breaking a young David Zaslav’s heart in the process.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that Godzilla X Kong (subtitled The New Empire, because it’s 2024, and you’re not shit if you don’t have “Empire” in your subtitle) is set to beat out the second week of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. (See?) That film is expected to bring in roughly $15 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total up to $73 million. That’ll bring both movies in ahead of the imperially minded Dune: Part Two, although Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi spectacular remains the highest earning film of the year overall by a ridiculously comfortable margin, currently sitting at nearly $250 million in its domestic take. (That being said, the MonsterVerse movies tend to do way better in foreign markets than they do domestically, so the year-end totals might be a lot closer than initially indicated.)