In the days leading up to the release of Kong: Skull Island, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures were anxious.
Prerelease tracking suggested the pic would open to $45 million-$50 million in North America, which would hardly be a roaring start for a big-budget tentpole that cost at least $185 million to make and at least $135 million to market.
Instead, Kong: Skull Island scaled a promising $61 million over the weekend to easily place No. 1 and defeat box-office maverick Logan after winning over critics and moviegoers. The film skewed male (56 percent) but lured more females than tracking had suggested.
But that's just the first test. It remains in question as to whether the world's most famous giant ape can tame enough moviegoers around the world for Kong to be OK financially, a feat that will require as much as $500 million in global ticket sales. The movie is sandwiched between two formidable competitors: Fox's Logan, which has earned a stellar $437.7 million worldwide since opening just over a week ago, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which is set to hit theaters around the world on Friday.
While Kong: Skull Island exceeded hopes in North America, its international start wasn't eye-popping, in part because of Logan. The former pic took in $81.6 million from 65 markets, compared to Logan's second-weekend tally of $70 million after debuting to $152 million the weekend before.