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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Crushes At The Weekend Box Office With One Of The Best Debuts Of The 2024 So Far

 Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.
Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

Last weekend, Gil Kenan's Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire tried to get a post-pandemic franchise bump. In late 2021, the last movie in the series – Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters: Afterlife – debuted to some depressed numbers due to the state of theaters at the time, and there was hope that the next sequel would inspire much more substantial ticket sales. Those ambitions weren't totally fulfilled for the horror/comedy last Sunday... but one week later, almost the exact same situation has worked out extremely well for Adam Wingard's Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

The new title has arrived almost three years after the release of Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong, and the results are fantastic – with the new blockbuster earning more than double what the previous MonsterVerse title brought in in its first three days. Check out the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

Weekend Box Office Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire March 29-31, 2024
Weekend Box Office Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire March 29-31, 2024

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Has A Monster Opening Weekend Nearly Matching Dune: Part Two

When Godzilla vs. Kong first premiered in March 31, 2021, it was the first tentpole blockbuster to arrive in theaters in over a year, and it was a thrilling hit. Despite the fact that Warner Bros. decided to release the movie simultaneously for Max subscribers (a distribution strategy applied for the studio's entire slate), there was a clear excitement to see a big movie on the big screen. Cut to 2024, and we know have proof that movie's box office success wasn't solely a result of people missing the theatrical experience.

This weekend's opening weekend numbers for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire show that the MonsterVerse has real heat. Not only are the domestic ticket sales more than twice as big as those for its immediate predecessor ($80 million vs. $32.2 million, per The Numbers), but the film just had the biggest opening weekend for a title in the franchise since Gareth Edwards' Godzilla kicked everything off back in 2014 (at which time it brought in $93.2 million). From Godzilla to Jordan Vogt-Roberts' Kong: Skull Island to Michael Dougherty's Godzilla: King Of The Monsters to Godzilla vs. Kong, opening weekend numbers had been trending down since the launch of the titan-centric canon a decade ago, but that trajectory is now moving in the opposite direction.

This is both the second big box office win for Warner Bros. in March 2024 and the second time that the studio has recently produced a hit sequel to a blockbuster success from 2021. The win that is Godzilla x Kong is coming on the heels of what Denis Villeneuve's Dune: Part Two has been doing for the last four weeks, and the two titles now sit together on top of the list for 2024's biggest domestic debuts. The two films have two different levels of buzz going – with Dune: Part Two being hailed by critics as a science-fiction masterpiece and Godzilla x Kong getting a more mixed response, but movie-goers are clearly hyped about both.

Godzilla and Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Godzilla and Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

It's not just in the United States and Canada that Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is doing well – it's already putting up big numbers around the globe. According to early calculations, the blockbuster is doing better overseas than its doing domestically, having made $114 million from foreign territories. The feature's worldwide total presently sits just short of $200 million at $194 million, which is enough for it to already rank as the seventh biggest worldwide release of 2024 thus far.

These results would be even better if the title had a budget similar to Takashi Yamazaki's Godzilla Minus One, which cost only $15 million to make per The Hollywood Reporter... but that's definitely not the case. Variety instead pins its budget at around $135 million (not including publicity and marketing), which means that the title still has to do well in the weeks to come in order to be considered a true box office win.

Taking a peek at the weeks ahead, one has to like Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire's chances for long-term success. While there are certainly some exciting releases set to come out in April, there is nothing on the way in the next month that is going to sell itself as a big screen experience quite like the latest MonsterVerse title. As far as titles on cinema marquees go, its clearly the biggest game in town right now... which is a statement reinforced by the second weekend performance by Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire.

Facing Off Against Godzilla x Kong, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Has A Super Rough Second Weekend

As I noted in my box office column last Sunday, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire was made with a $100 million budget, and after bringing in just $45 million from its first few days in theaters, it really needed to overperform in its second weekend. Sadly, that hasn't happened. Pulling off said mission was always going to be a challenge thanks to the hyped arrival of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire... but now, it's hard to imagine that anyone will look at the numbers and be happy with them.

With a big fraction of the film's target demographic going to see the new release from the MonsterVerse, the fifth feature from the Ghostbusters franchise was left to see its weekend-to-weekend ticket sales drop 65 percent. The new movie only made $15.7 million since Friday, bringing its total from the United States and Canada to date to $73.4 million. This means that the box office is presently lagging behind the performance of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which had $87.5 million in the bank by the end of its tenth day playing in theaters domestically (and remember: the industry was still being roughed up by the COVID-19 pandemic at the time).

Adding in ticket sales from overseas don't really help things, as Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire has only made $35.1 million from abroad – bringing its global total to just $108.5 million thus far. It may end up being the first title in the franchise not to earn more than $200 million during its time playing on the big screen... and if that's the case, one has to wonder if it might be time for the brand to go back on the shelf for a while.

We'll continue to follow the numbers for both Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire and Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire next week as the two blockbusters go toe-to-toe with two fresh cinematic forces: the child of the devil and Dev Patel in full action movie mode. Arkasha Stevenson's The First Omen and Patel's Monkey Man will both be arriving in wide release on Friday, and I'll be back here next Sunday to track their box office performance in my next column.

While you wait, you can check out all of the big titles on the way in the coming months via our 2024 Movie Release Calendar.