Smashing expectations, and its competition, like so many Skullcrawlers, "Kong: Skull Island" climbed to the top of the North American box office with an estimated $61 million opening weekend.
The Legendary Pictures film had been projected to open significantly lower, somewhere between $45 million to $50 million. Deadline attributes "Skull Island's" performance to positive word of mouth, as Saturday's receipts grew 19 percent from Friday's $20.2 million.
Fox's "Logan" is expected to finish a distant second with $37.9 million, marking a 57-percent decline in its second weekend. Still, Hugh Jackman's final appearance has brought in $152.7 million domestically in its 10 days of release.
As impressive as "Skull Island's" performance may be, the film has to overcome an estimated $185 million production budget (plus marketing and distribution costs) before it can begin to make a profit for Legendary and Warner Bros.
A follow-up to Legendary’s 2014 film “Godzilla,” director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' “Kong: Skull Island” centers on a 1970s expedition to an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean, where the team encounters the monstrous Skullcrawlers and the giant ape known as Kong. Legendary’s MonsterVerse is set to continue in 2019 with “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and in 2020 with “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
"Skull Island" and "Logan" were followed at the North American box office by "Get Out" ($21 million). "The Shack" ($10 million) and "The LEGO Batman Movie" ($7.8 million).
In theaters now, “Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary and John C. Reilly.