‘Godzilla x Kong’ Will Cap Off a Busy March for the Box Office

While March hasn’t had a massive “Beauty and the Beast” remake-esque hit at the box office, sequels to “Dune,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Ghostbusters” have managed to break the February drought. Now it’s time for Warner Bros./Legendary’s “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” to end the month on a strong note.

In 2021, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was the first major film to hit theaters as they were reopening after a year of pandemic closures. It earned a five-day opening of $48.1 million over Easter weekend. Buoyed by a $188 million total in China, the film grossed $470 million globally against a $200 million budget.

Three years later, the sequel that sees the King of Kaiju and the Eighth Wonder team up rather than throw giant hands at each other is projected for a domestic opening of at least $50 million from 3,850 theaters, with rival studios and theatrical sources projecting a top end of $53-55 million. The film carries a net production budget of $135 million, with 75% of that being financed by Legendary and Warner covering the rest.

While unlikely to get the critical acclaim that the low-budget, Japanese-produced “Godzilla Minus One” earned last December, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was well received with a 76% Rotten Tomatoes score. (“Godzilla x Kong” has yet to post a critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.)

With its promise of big screen-worthy smashups, “Godzilla x Kong” should bring out plenty of moviegoers in the 18-35 demographic as well as teens on spring break during the Easter holiday. That could be bad news for “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” which had a solid $45 million opening weekend but a good-but-not-great reception among hardcore “Ghostbusters” fans, which could make it difficult to win over casual moviegoers against the competition from Legendary’s MonsterVerse.

“Godzilla x Kong” has its own hurdles to clear. For one, Chinese moviegoers that used to turn up reliably for Hollywood blockbusters like the MonsterVerse have moved on to fare from their own local studios, so this film likely won’t get anywhere near the $188 million total that “Godzilla vs. Kong” earned.

Beyond China, “Godzilla x Kong” will also face significantly more competition than its predecessor. The original faced its own challenges in hitting theaters at a time when no one knew how many people were ready to come back to cinemas, but it at least had the advantage of being the only big blockbuster on the marquee.

This time, “Godzilla x Kong” not only faces competition from films released earlier this month, but will encounter April films that will be of interest to younger adult moviegoers, particularly male ones. Among the upcoming films is “Monkey Man,” Dev Patel’s action film that earned critical acclaim at its SXSW premiere, Alex Garland’s harrowing, hot button pressing “Civil War,” and Guy Ritchie’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.”

While none of those films are likely to match the grosses of “Godzilla x Kong,” their core demographics overlap with those of the MonsterVerse and could peel away holdover interest. With diminished support from China, word-of-mouth will need to be strong for the film to be as profitable in its theatrical run as “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Regardless, “Godzilla x Kong” should cap off what has been a month of blessed relief for theaters. With a running domestic total of $567 million heading into the final days of the month, March 2024 is set to be on par with the $638 million grossed one year ago. Still, those totals are also below the March overall cumes posted every year of the 2010s, including the $962 million seen in 2019.

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