“Kong: Skull Island” roared to a $22.5 million opening day in China on Friday, including Thursday midnight screenings.
The first-day take represented nearly 76% of China’s total box office haul on Friday. That marks the second-largest English-language film launch of the year in the country, behind “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and the fifth-biggest Friday debut ever for a U.S. title in the Middle Kingdom.
The international total outside of China has hit $167.3 million, led by the U.K. with $14.8 million, Mexico with $11.8 million, and South Korea with $11.6 million. The monster pic opens in Japan on March 25.
Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson star in “Kong: Skull Island,” a reboot of the King Kong franchise set on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. The film, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, carries a hefty $185 million price tag.
The movie has performed respectably in the U.S., where Friday forecasts placed it at $18 million for its third weekend, which should give the giant ape pic a domestic total of $140 million by Sunday.
Critics have lauded the film’s visual effects and fast-paced story. The film comes 84 years after the much-admired original “King Kong,” starring Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray.
“Kong: Skull Island” is the second installment in Legendary and Warner Bros.’ “MonsterVerse” series, following 2014’s “Godzilla,” which grossed $529.1 million globally on a $160 million budget. “Godzilla 2” hits theaters on March, 22, 2019, and “Godzilla vs. Kong” is slated for May 21, 2020.