They Have Risen: ‘Godzilla x Kong’ Conquers Easter Box Office With $80M Opening; Legendary Monsterverse Franchise Crosses $2 Billion – Sunday AM Box Office

EASTER SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Legendary and Warner Bros’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire stomped all over expectations with an $80M opening, the second best start of the year so far, $2.5M behind the $82.5M opening of Legendary’s other big pic this spring, Dune: Part Two. No one saw this coming. As we told you heading into the movie, the fifth Monsterverse titles gets the Legendary series across $2 billion in its domestic opening alone. International delivered $114M for a great $194M global start.

EntTelligence reports that GxK is expected to pull in more than 5.5M admissions this weekend, the most attended opening weekend for any movie YTD. The Adam Wingard directed movie, not including preview night, commanded 56% of all foot traffic and 89% of all premium format admissions. Imax and PLF drove 38% of the gross with 3D responsible for 19%.

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This is easily the biggest opening ever for Wingard as we wonder what he’ll do next: is it Face Off or Thundercats?

Mary Parent, Vice Chairman of Worldwide Production for Legendary and producer of GxK, tells Deadline, “Adam Wingard has a wild imagination. He’s got great ideas of how to see these characters in ways that the audience wants to see them. He has a kid-like imagination that hasn’t been extinguished as an adult and he knows how to tap into that.”

How monster movie wasn’t just an Nth title in monster movies, Parent further says that the screenplay delivered “on something we hadn’t seen before — the further exploration of Hallow Earth, the Zero Gravity Battle, the introduction of Skar King and Shimo.” But also there’s large sections of the movie where the characters don’t verbalize, specifically the monsters, however, the heart of those scenes is what won audiences over in extensive screenings.

How did Warners pull this off with GxK? While the movie is playing everywhere, there was an enormous turnout of Hispanic and Latino moviegoers who repped 35% of the crowd. In addition, there was a bespoke campaign masterminded by Warner Bros Marketing Czar Josh Goldstine that excited various demos across billboards, exhibition in theater materials and trailers.

Beamed Warner Bros Domestic Distribution Boss Jeff Goldstein, “This is a huge, fun Easter movie for the whole family. A big shoutout to Legendary, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Co-Chiefs Mike De Luca and Pamela Abdy for supporting the date and Warner Bros. Worldwide Marketing President Josh Goldstine for an extraordinary campaign.”

For a fifthquel to bounce back the franchise, GxK being the second best start in the Legendary Monsterverse after Godzilla‘s $93.1M ten years ago, is pretty remarkable. Also there’s a similar boom going on here with this Legendary property ala Dune Part Two. That franchise had its first chapter’s grosses siphoned by a pandemic day-and-date HBO Max streaming debut. Despite bringing audiences back in the Easter 2021, you could say that Godzilla v Kong‘s grosses too were also impacted by a streaming day-and-date plan, and the pure theatrical of it all with GxK clearly underscores the value of the IP on the big screen, and moviegoers’ preference to see such monster mashing in no other place but a theater.

GxK for the most part played evenly throughout the day per EntTelligence with 12% attending before 1PM, 34% during the 1PM-5PM daypart, 31% between 5PM-8PM and 23% after 8PM.

1.) Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Leg/WB) 3,861 theaters, Fri $37M Sat $26.6M Sun $16.4M 3-day $80M/Wk 1

2.) Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Sony) 4,345 theaters, Fri $5.5M (-65%), Sat $6.3M Sun $3.87M 3-day $15.7M (-65%), Total $73.4M/Wk 2

Austin Butler in Dune: Part Two
Austin Butler in ‘Dune: Part Two’

3.) Dune: Part Two (Leg/WB) 3,136 theaters (-301), Fri $3.6M (-20%) Sat $4.7M Sun $2.8M 3-day $11.1M (-37%)/Total $252.3M/Wk 5
Fueling the sequel’s hold was the retention of Imax screens which grossed $1.65M taking the Imax domestic haul for the Denis Villeneuve movie to $62M; the eighth highest Imax domestic release ever.

4.) Kung Fu Panda 4 (Uni/DWA) 3,582 (-223) theaters, Fri $3.97M (-3%), Sat $3.9M Sun $2.35M 3-day $10.2M (-38%), Total $151.6M/Wk 4

5.) Immaculate (NEON) 2,362 (+8) theaters, Fri $1.1M (-44%) Sat $1.25M Sun $875K 3-day $3.26M (–39%)/Total $11.1M/ Wk 2

6.) Arthur the King (LG) 2,525 (-478) theaters, Fri $784K Sat $995K Sun $621K 3-day $2.4M (-43%), Total $19.06M/Wk 3

7.) Late Night With the Devil (IFC) 1442 (+408) theaters (IFC), Fri $773K Sat $862K Sun $569K 3-day $2.2M (-21%), Total $6.2M/Wk 2
Late Night With the Devil continues show the power of quality films in the marketplace defying horror norms by only dropping 22% and adding four hundred screens due to increased demand. We are proud to say this is now IFC’s fifth highest grossing film,” says Head of AMC Films’ Group, Scott Shooman.

8.) Tillu Square (Prath) 450 theaters, Fri $1M Sat $515K Sun $355K 3-day $1.87M/Wk 1

9.) Crew (FunAsia) 486 theaters, Fri $604K Sun $530K Sun $366K 3-day $1.5M/Wk 1

10.) Imaginary (LG) 1,956 (-557) theaters Fri $506K Sat $564K Sun $330K 3-day $1.4M (-50%) Total $26.2M/Wk 4


In the Land of Saints and Sinners (Samuel Goldwyn) 896 theaters, Fri $378K Sat $388K Sun $290K 3-day $1.056M/Wk 1

Cabrini (Angel Studios) 1,345 (-420) theaters, Fri $539K Sat $279K Sun $220,7K 3-day $1.037M (-28%), Total $18.1M/Wk 4

 Aadujeevitham (Prime Media) 200 theaters, Fri $180K Sat $200K Sun $130K 3-day $510K /Total $625K Wk 1

Asphalt City (RSA) 298 theaters, Fri $54K Sat $46K Sun $30K 3-day $130,6K/Wk 1

Wicked Little Letters (SPC) 5 theaters, 3-day $87,9K/$17,5K per theater/Wk 1

SATURDAY AM WRITETHRU after Friday Night post : This is how a great box office weekend should be. A studio goes into the frame expecting ‘X’, and they wind up with a substantially higher ‘Y’. It was definitely a good Friday for Legendary and Warner Bros with more walk-up business than expected as Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire posted a $37M first day (plus $10M previews) putting on the path to a $75M opening weekend. Per Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, 57% of the audience bought their tickets same-day. There is a path to a bigger weekend, so it won’t be shocking if it hits $80M. Also, the sequel nabbed an A- CinemaScore, which is the second best CinemaScore for a Monsterverse movie after 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which was also directed by Adam Wingard.

Godzilla x Kong‘s weekend is still the second best U.S./Canada start for a Monsterverse, but also the fifth best Easter weekend opening ever after Warner Bros’ Batman v. Superman ($181M), Universal/Illumination’s Super Mario Bros Movie ($166.4M), Universal’s Furious 7 ($161.2M) and Uni’s The Fate of the Furious ($107.3M).

Kaylee Hottle in ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’
Kaylee Hottle in ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’

There’s no denying that Easter weekend is a very rich one at the box office, definitely bigger than Christmas weekend since the holiday will always fall on a Sunday, the lesser of the three moviegoing days. PostTrak exits reported that of those who watched Gvk, many of them were infrequent moviegoers, i.e. 26% go to the cinema ever other month or so, while 22% attend a few times a year or less. Warners has been here before, not just with Batman v. Superman and Godzilla vs. Kong, but the Clash of the Titans movies, Ready Player One, Shazam! and even The Matrix. Lots here for Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav to be happy about as Warner Bros has the top two highest movies of the year and is dominating the major studio domestic marketshare with 30% fueled by Legendary’s Dune: Part Two and GxK, as well as Warner’s own Wonka.

62% of the audience was led by men with Hispanic and Latino audiences showing up huge at 34%, followed by 31% Caucasian, 18% Asian/other and 17% Black. Sixty-seven percent of GxK‘s crowd were over 25 while 62% were under 35. The under 25 set at 33% gave the Adam Wingard directed movie an A.

GxK is playing big across the nation, but gigantic in the South, South Central and West with the AMC Burbank its highest grossing theater stateside with close to $83K so far.  IMAX and the PLF screens are driving 38% of the gross with 3D accounting for 19%.

Other jelly beans for GxK: On PostTrak, 96% said the movie either met or exceeded their expectations. Forty-eight percent said they went to the movie because it look fun and exciting, while another 45% said it was part of a franchise they loved. Seventy-two percent want to see a sequel. What influenced moviegoers to go see GxK: 17% said the online trailer, 14% said it was the in-theater trailer, 14% credited social media, while another 14% said they were encouraged by friends and family.

GvK is leading all titles at the weekend box office to a $134.7M total, which is +38% over the same exact period a year ago when Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opened during a non-holiday weekend. However, compared to last year’s Easter weekend, we’re down this year by -34% and that’s all because of Super Mario Bros. Movie.

As far as the middle players this weekend, it’s a deep bench. Exhibitors can give praise to three Bollywood titles filling coffers, the first of them being the dramedy Tillu Square starring Anupama Parameswaran, Sidhu Jonnalagadda and Raj Tirandasu about a man whose life is turned upside down after a mysterious murder. That Prathyangira Cinemas release is set to do around $2.5M in No. 6 spot. Four hundred fifty locations had alright grosses in LA, San Francisco, Houston, Toronto, Boston, Vancouver, San Diego, Seattle and Atlanta.

Then there’s FunAsia’s dramedy Crew starring Tabu, Kareena Kapoor and Kriti Sanon about three hard-working women as their destinies lead to some unwarranted situations and end up caught in a web of lies. That looks to bring in around $1.7M toward the bottom of the top 10. Booked at 486 theaters, Crew is posting solid figures in the Bollywood hotspots of Toronto, Vancouver, San Fran, Seattle and NYC.

Outside the top 10 there’s Prime Media Pictures’ Aadujeevitham in 200 locations with decent results on Toronto, Seattle, Philly, NYC, Houston and Dallas adding up to $563K 3-day.

Liam Neeson has an action movie out this Easter weekend from Samuel Goldwyn Films, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, which is eyeing $1M 3-day at 896 sites with OK figures from Toronto, Vancouver, NYC, San Fran, LA and Atlanta to name a few. The Robert Lorenz directed title has pretty good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at 80%. It takes place in Ireland, 1970s as Finbar Murphy (Liam Neeson) is trying to leave his dark past and lead a quiet life in the remote coastal town of Glencolmcille, far from the political violence that grips the rest of the country. However, a menacing crew of terrorists arrive, led by a ruthless woman named Doirean (Kerry Condon), and Finbar is drawn into an increasingly vicious game of cat and mouse, forcing him to choose between exposing his secret identity or defending his friends and neighbors.

‘Wicked Little Letters’
‘Wicked Little Letters’

Sony Pictures Classics has Wicked Little Letters which world premiered at TIFF last fall and is from filmmaker Thea Sharrock. Pic stars Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley. Pic’s blurb: When people in Littlehampton–including conservative local Edith–begin to receive letters full of hilarious profanities, rowdy Irish migrant Rose is charged with the crime. Suspecting that something is amiss, the town’s women investigate. Rotten Tomatoes reviews at 71% fresh are provoking the older arthouse crowd to go, shelling out an estimated $102K this weekend or $20,3K theater average in NYC and LA.


1.) Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (Leg/WB) 3,861 theaters, Fri $37M 3-day $75M/Wk 1

2.) Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Sony) 4,345 theaters, Fri $5.5M (-65%), 3-day $15.5M (-67%), Total $73.2M/Wk 2

3.) Dune: Part Two (Leg/WB) 3,136 theaters (-301), Fri $3.6M (-20%), 3-day $10.6M (-40%)/Total $251.8M/Wk 5

4.) Kung Fu Panda 4 (Uni/DWA) 3,582 (-223) theaters, Fri $3.97M (-3%), 3-day $10M (-39%), Total $151.4M/Wk 4

5.) Immaculate (NEON) 2,362 (+8) theaters, Fri $1.1M (-44%), 3-day $3.2M (-40%)/Total $11M/ Wk 2

6.) Arthur the King (LG) 2,525 (-478) theaters, Fri $780 (-33%), 3-day $2.27M (-46%), Total $18.9M/Wk 3

7.) Late Night With the Devil (IFC) 1442 (+408) theaters (IFC), Fri $785K (-32%) 3-day $2.2M (-21%), Total $5M/Wk 2

8.) Tillu Square (Prath) 450 theaters, Fri $1M Sat $515K Sun $355K 3-day $1.87M/Wk 1

9.) Crew (FunAsia) 486 theaters, Fri $604K Sun $530K Sun $366K 3-day $1.5M/Wk 1

10.) Imaginary (LG) 1,956 (-557) theaters Fri $506K Sat $564K Sun $330K 3-day $1.4M (-50%) Total $26.2M/Wk 4

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: No monkey business here. Legendary and Warner Bros’ $135M production Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is blowing away projections with a $31M Friday (including last night’s Monsterverse-record $10M previews) and a 3-day of $67M at 3,861 venues. That’s the second-best stateside start ever for a Legendary Monsterverse film, ranking behind Godzilla’s $93.1M in 2014 and ahead of 2017’s Kong: Skull Island ($61M).

No, it’s not last year’s The Super Mario Bros Movie, which notched the second-best opening Easter-weekend opening ever at $166M, but it’s a substantial amount of money to keep turnstiles spinning. Rotten Tomatoes audience score has notched up to 93% for GxK.

Sony’s second Friday of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is $5.1M at 4,345 theaters, -68% from a week ago, for what’s shaping up to be a second frame of $14M, for a running total of $71.4M.

Third is DreamWorks Animation and Universal’s Kung Fu Panda 4 at 3,582 sites, which is seeing a fourth Friday of $4.3M and fourth weekend of $10.8M, -35%, for a running total of $152.2M.

Legendary and Warners also own the No. 4 spot with the fifth frame of Dune: Part Two, which is looking like $10.5M, -40%, for a running total of $251.7M. Nice hold at 3,136 theaters, and that’s without a ton of Imax screens. Friday is at $3.6M, -18%.

Fifth is Neon’s Immaculate at 2,362 theaters with a second Friday of $1M, -50%, and a second frame of $2.8M, -48%, for a running total of $10.7M.

FRIDAY AM: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire made $10M in previews, according to Warner Bros — the best ever for Legendary’s Monsterverse, beating the first film in the series, 2014’s Godzilla, which did $9.3M. There was a lot of walk-up business Thursday night. As we told you last night, the audience score on this is high. PostTrak is 5 stars. It’s a really fun creature feature with a lot of heart; heck, it’s even better than Jurassic World: Dominion. Seriously.

Tracking firm Quorum this morning raised its projections for the movie on the high end to $66M-$74M Godzilla x Kong is the only new wide studio entry this weekend.

Good Friday is always a big box office day, so we’ll see where this takes Warners. Per ComScore, 77% of K-12 schools are on break today, along with 39% colleges out. Monday after Easter also looks great with 57% K-12 schools off and 14% colleges.

Social media monitor RelishMix says that the social media universe across TikTok, Facebook, X, YouTube and Instagram is 508.8M, which is 39% ahead of sci-fi norms. It’s also not that far from Legendary/Warner Bros’ own Dune: Part Two, which had a reach of 575.7M.

While RelishMix says that word of mouth was mixed in advance of previews, perhaps sentiment will change. Remember, fans always come out on Thursday.

Reports RelishMix: “Devotees of the franchise are pumped about the latest installment, with the trailers sporting fan theories like ‘Could it be the Kong Titanus Tiamat killed? Or is it an insane war veteran from the Great Titan War?’ Fans also appreciate this film moving into the absurdity of its concept, saying ‘It’s such a good time to be a Kaiju fan. And I love how this series is leaning into batshit insanity’ as well as ‘This is so ridiculous! I can’t wait to watch it.'”

Elsewhere on Thursday, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire ranked No. 1 among regular-release movies with $2.7M at 4,345 theaters, -6% from Wednesday, taking its first week to $57.7M. While the movie opened higher than its 2021 predecessor Ghostbusters: Afterlife, $45M to $44M, the first week of Frozen Empire here is behind Afterlife by 9%. Remember, Afterlife played its first week over Thanksgiving.

DreamWorks Animation and Universal’s Kung Fu Panda 4 posted a third Thursday of $2.1M at 3,805 theaters, +5% from Wednesday for a third week of $25M, running total of $141.4M. The fourthquel will eclipse the domestic take of Kung Fu Panda 3 today which finaled at $143.5M. KFP4 is pacing 14% behind 2008’s Kung Fu Panda‘s running domestic cume through three weeks.

Legendary/Warner’s Dune: Part Two did $1.9M at 3,437 in its fourth Thursday, -12% from Wednesday for a fourth week of $25.5M and a running total of $241.2M.

Fourth belongs to Neon’s Sydney Sweeney horror movie Immaculate, at 2,354 theaters. Thursday’s estimated $636K take ends the pic’s first week at $7.8M.

Fathom has another set of The Chosen episodes, which did around $494K Thursday at 1,037 locations.

FRIDAY 12:03 AM: In the wake of Dune: Part Two, Kung Fu Panda 4 and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Legendary/Warner Bros’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire continues to provide momentum to the box office following a lack of event titles in Q1 due to the strikes. Sources tell us that the Adam Wingard-directed monster mash movie is seeing $8M from Thursday previews that began at 3 p.m. in roughly 3,400 locations. That’s arguably the second-best previews ever for a Legendary’s Monsterverse movie, following the first Godzilla in 2014, which posted $9.3M. That Gareth Edwards-directed lizard romp went on to make $38.4M on its first Friday with a 3-day of $93.1M.

Warner Bros didn’t return request for comment on tonight’s estimates.

Opening domestic projections for Godzilla x Kong earlier this week were at $50M.

While Rotten Tomatoes critics gave GxK the second-worst reviews for the Monsterverse at 56%, RT audiences currently think it’s the best of the Legendary lizard/ape movies at 92%. We’ll see if that simmers down. Audiences’ previous fave in the series? 2021’s Godzilla v. Kong, which also was directed by Wingard and opened over the Easter holiday period to a $48.1M five-day — reigniting moviegoing following exhibition’s yearlong shutdown in major box office markets. GvK was available day-and-date in theaters and on Warner’s streaming service then called HBO Max.

GxK is expected to play in 3,850 theaters on Friday boosted by Imax, PLFs, ScreenX, D-Box and 4DX. There also will be some sharing of Imax auditoriums with Legendary and Warner’s own Dune: Part Two. That movie is the highest-grossing title of 2024 to date, with $239.3M stateside and near $600M worldwide.

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