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By David Poland

Kong Estimates A $9.8 Million Wed

Good, bad, or ugly?

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65 Responses to “Kong Estimates A $9.8 Million Wed”

  1. Mark Ziegler says:

    Right now?

  2. Blackcloud says:

    I say ugly, if only because I was expecting, well, more than that.
    By the way, I’d just like to say that the best remake of “Kong” is still the one they did on “The Simpsons” a few years ago.

  3. palmtree says:

    My vote is with bad…certainly could have been worse. Does anyone have a clue what happened? Was it the women staying home?

  4. Angelus21 says:

    I was expecting 140$ for the 5 days. May not even hit 100$ now.

  5. grandcosmo says:

    Kong’s per screen for Wednesday was equal to such immortals as “Legally Blonde 2” and “Scary Movie 2”.
    This is a possible disaster in the making.

  6. palmtree says:

    Definitely won’t hit 100 M. I think 90 is more likely…but then again, Titanic’s opening wasn’t record breaking either.

  7. Hopscotch says:

    The Polar Express opened on a Weds to $2.1 mill.
    Final Gross: $165 mill. You never can tell.
    But this is Kong for pete’s sake. How many screens is it on? How huge has the promotion been? And this includes all the midnight screenings, right? I still think the word of mouth on this movie will put more buts in the seats. 5 day gross of $75 mill.

  8. Dr Wally says:

    “The Polar Express opened on a Weds to $2.1 mill.
    Final Gross: $165 mill. You never can tell. ”
    Much of Polar’s take was in the more expensive IMAX theaters, Kong doesn’t have that luxury. I seem to remember that Batman Begins opened with ‘only’ something like $12 million on a weekday but was surprisingly leggy, reaching over $200 million eventually. Let’s not write Kong off yet. Even so, a $200 million domestic for Kong would still be seen as a big letdown.

  9. RP says:

    I thought it was ugly bordering on gruesome but then saw that Shrek 2 opened to $11.8 and went on to $441 million…yeah, Kong’s not a sequel, per se, and it’s longer, but hopefully it’ll have legs. I liked the movie and genuinely hope it does well. If it doesn’t, beware the return of the slump stories! 🙂

  10. grandcosmo says:

    Nikki Rocco, Universal head of distribution quoted on Tuesday, December 13, 2005,
    “I think it’s fair to compare King Kong to The Fellowship of the Ring,” explained Rocco. “This is not the typical sequel. It’s the same time of year, the same director, and the movie has many of the same characteristics.”
    Nikki Rocco on December 15, 2005 after “King Kong” grosses a little more than half of LOTR:The Fellowship of the Ring,
    “Kong didn’t break any records,” Rocco said. “But I think exhibition is thrilled. There were no kids out of school, and there were terrible weather conditions. Kong’s not a built-in franchise. It’s not a geeky kind of thing. It wasn’t a record breaker, but it’s a solid start.”
    Is exhibition really ‘thrilled’?

  11. Hopscotch says:

    Point taken Dr. Wally, but I think only 25% – 30% of Polar’s take was from IMAX, that’s still some pretty long legs. For a film that was suspected to be DOA.
    Oh you better beleive the slump stories will come back. I still think this’ll be a huge hit.

  12. Mr. Emerson says:

    Reasonably bad, not totally. At least it isn’t ugly.
    I agree that the lousy weather on Wednesday might have kept people away, and Kong really doesn’t have the same fan base as LotR…unlike Jackson’s last two movies, there isn’t a huge segment of audience who will instantly go because they’re dying for more…there hasn’t been something to die for more of.
    BUT I have a feeling in my gut that King Kong will put together a just-fine opening five-day total due to word of mouth. I saw it myself and think it is three hours of pure entertainment the likes of which have rarely been seen. Give it another day or two to grow and see how well it does on the actual weekend.

  13. Lynn says:

    Aren’t the grosses going to be lower than most because the three hour running time equals one less screeening per day? Plus on a weeknight with school still in session, it seems to me there are fewer people willing to go to an 10 or 11 pm show that won’t end till 1 or 2 am.
    I want to see Kong and will see it. Was it important to me to see it the first day? No. I will see it sometime in the next few weeks, along with Narnia, Syriana, Brokeback, Munich, etc.

  14. Blackcloud says:

    I suspect others will tell their friends what I told mine, namely that it has some great moments, but also could easily be cut by an hour at least. I suspect word of mouth is going to be more mixed on this than people expect.
    It’s probably just me, but I saw “Narnia” last night after I saw “Kong,” and I enoyed the former a lot more than I did the the latter.

  15. RMac says:

    Shocking, actually, in light of how good the reviews have been. And hasn’t Kong been tracking really well? The “want-to-see” factor is palpable, it seems. I know I want to see it, and soon.
    I have a gut feeling that this opening day is somehow misleading. Bad weather? School night? Alien laser rays blocking theater entrances? Something’s awry, and I can’t believe that the weekend numbers won’t be impressive. But I know nothing.
    For what it’s worth, and since there’s been a lot of overexcited talk lately suggesting Kong might rival “Titanic,” isn’t it true that that “Titanic’s” opening weekend numbers were good but not gigantic? Of course there are dozens of reasons to distinguish Kong and Titanic….

  16. palmtree says:

    Actually, Return of the King opened on the comparable Wednesday 2 years ago and it was longer than Kong (3 hours and 20 minutes). Its opening day take? $34 million.

  17. mysteryperfecta says:

    I think it’s too early to call it bad or ugly. If you exclude the Wednesdays of franchises/sequels (LOTR, Star Wars, Spider-man 2, the Matrix movies, MIB sequel, Harry Potter movies, etc.) and a one-in-a-million opening like The Passion, then Kong has the 8th best Wednesday opening. If you exclude summer movies from that smaller list, Kong moves up to 3rd. One of those is Pokemon, which is kind of a franchise, and the other is Spielberg (Catch Me…)
    So Kong is actually THE BEST non-sequel, non-franchise, non-summer, non-abberation, non-Spielberg, Wednesday opening day EVA!!!

  18. Chucky in Jersey says:

    UGLY! “King Kong” is gonna get hurt for 3 big reasons:
    (1) Weather — ice storm in the Southeast yesterday/today, heading toward NYC and New England tonight/tomorrow.
    (2) Subway strike in NYC began today. The key Manhattan theaters for “King Kong” are the AMC Empire, Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square. All 3 of those theaters are within 1-2 blocks of a subway stop.
    (3) The NFL. All 3 games Saturday involve division leaders. Most of the games Sunday involve division leaders or playoff contenders. The Giants game Saturday kicks off at 5 PM Eastern — how many in the New York area will skip their Saturday-night movie to see Big Blue?

  19. Wrecktum says:

    All this talk about Kong competing with Titanic that I’ve been reading about has really pissed me off. Do people seriously think that King Kong can make over $600m in the U.S.? In today’s front-loaded market, with all the competition, with four month DVD windows? That kind of pie in the sky prognosticating does nothing but hurt the film, because it’s somehow, bizarrely being held up to a nearly unreachable standard. C’mon!
    As for the super soft Wednesday. Yeah, it’s a huge problem. It’s Universal’s job to sell this film. They’ve spent a lot of money to get asses in seats. The weather shouldn’t matter. Work shouldn’t matter. School finals shouldn’t matter. This was sold as a must-see event film, as a movie where long lines around the block filled with eager fans dressed as Fay Wray and Super Mario were expected all day Wednesday. It didn’t happen.
    Now it’s being spun as a word-of-mouth film. The hell? Are you kidding me?
    It’s fucked. Maybe Uni and PJ should have realized that people might not be so eager to rush out to see a $200m monster B-movie remake.

  20. PandaBear says:

    Who thinks Kong can do Titanic numbers? I would say it would do maybe 40% of Titanic.

  21. qwiggles says:

    The season will take it to somewhere between bad and good.

  22. grandcosmo says:

    I agree thats why I posted the quotes from the Universal distribution woman. They have instantly gone into spin mode on this film.
    According to the films that are ranked above Kong on the list of biggest Wednesday openings ever made an average of 7.5% of their TOTAL GROSS on their opening Wednesday. If that is the case with Kong then it works out to a total gross of $131 million. And that would be very problematic for Universal.

  23. martin says:

    Chucky, strike hasn’t happened yet and may yet be resolved/postponed.
    I was hesistant in the last few weeks to say much about Kong #’s because everything press-wise seemed to be looking so “up”, but nothing about this movie really says $300 million-plus to me. Hate to compare it to a horrible predecessor, but Godzilla 98 – huge tracking, major box office letdown ($134 mill domestic no chance of sequel). With this $9 mill. start, Kong would LOVE to double Godzilla money. But I think $260 domestic for KK might feel a little short, $200 will definitely be seen as underperforming.
    Remember that story a week or so ago about KK being “only” the 6th costliest movie ever? (whole story was a load of bad #’s, KK is probably more like 2 or 3 at the lowest). That story may well have been a plant, Univ knows this movie isn’t going to kill domestically, though it may internationally, and if KK is seen as most expensive ever, it makes the underperforming even more drastic.
    Good reviews and word-of-mouth will help it, but ultimately it’s a movie featuring less than a-list actors and a very old-school, unhip storyline. The teen girls won’t be rushing in, or women of any age. Guys may be slightly turned off by the romantic ads. I’m personally excited to see it, but I don’t think it will be the huge domestic success some were hoping for. But we will see…

  24. martin says:

    Cosmo – I actually think Univ went into “spin” mode about a week or so ago. I don’t get the tracking sheets, but I think they knew it wasn’t going to hit as big as hoped for/expected.

  25. Wrecktum says:

    No excuse is good enough for a less than $10m bow. Finals? Bad weather? Real fans would ditch their class and bundle up.
    Sure it’ll rebound over the weekend. But an $80m 5-day was not what Uni was expecting, no matter what Nikki “It’s just such a great little movie, we hope audiences discover it” Rocco is now spinning.

  26. Blackcloud says:

    I think the movie just hasn’t overcome the “so what?” factor yet. As in, “They remade King Kong? So what?”

  27. palmtree says:

    But what no one can see are Kong’s legs. Sure it’s opening is disappointing, but if the critical acclaim can turn into Oscar nominations, then it could have a much longer shelf life. Of course, the Catch 22 is that its lower initial BO take will diminish its Oscar hopes.

  28. Lota says:

    It’s Ugly…but heck, the weather is ugly…we are In holidays now and next week folks will be packing in as much work as they can so they can take off around Christmas holiday, whether they celebrate it or not. The strike is on as already pointed out, who wants to pay parking.
    Also…it cracks me up anyone would see Kong as word of mouth. The marketing perhaps was started too little too late–a trailer won’t pull busy people in who only oaccasionally go to movies does it.
    Mr DPo, did you see CBS’s nightly news coverage tonight quoting Mr Degradarian (ok so i can’t remember his name) and Peter Bart re. the “slump” and how KONG is the last hope, blah blah?
    Just wondering. Much interview about nothing really. But the bottom line was the slump will slay the studios if Kong don;t perform and if Potter, narnia underperform at US BO.

  29. Lota says:

    oh to clarify–I seem to think that I saw much more marketing and spots for Kong a couple months ago as opposed to very recently–is that just an impression or did Uni start too early and everyone forgot about it in the last week?

  30. Wrecktum says:

    I think the marketing was more targeted in the last week or so (the infamous Coldplay TV spot, for instance). A sure sign that Uni was trying to bolster what they perceived as soft support in certain demographics.

  31. martin says:

    not sure I would call the coldplay spot “infamous”, early #’s suggest it hasn’t helped or hurt but that spot is the only radio spot I’ve heard during morning radio, various stations. So it’s clearly their banner ad right now. Perhaps with these early #’s they’ll try to go back and woo the core action-aud demo and at least get a double out of the thing.

  32. martin says:

    also, not to clog the blog any further, but the big unsaid KK scoop at the moment is that it probably isn’t entirely finished. I’ve read a number of reviews that have stated that some or many of the effects look incomplete (such as Dino stampede and manhattan effects – see Ebert). There was some noise about Jackson/Univ spending an extra $20m last month or so to get some effects finished in time for the release. And based on the word so far, it still wasn’t completely finished. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling Jackson isn’t 100% happy with his film, he could have used some more time to get it right. All directors feel that in one way or another, but I do get the feeling a number of sacrifices were made at the last minute to get this film into theaters on this date. A delay into May would have screwed up other studios like Paramount/MI3, but in one-day hindsight, I think that might have been a good decision.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Well, it also provides a marketing tool for the 3 1/2 hour cut coming to DVDs next year.
    (MI3 will dig its own grave)

  34. martin says:

    not sure if “the effects are done!” is a good marketing tool.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    It is for FX geeks. Although I am surprised some of the dodgier effects in Revenge of the Sith weren’t cleaned up for its DVD. I guess Lucas is just waiting for the next round of special editions.

  36. joefitz84 says:

    It better have some legs because it isn’t opening well.

  37. Sanchez says:

    Business will pick up for Kong.
    It’s too good a movie not to.

  38. James Leer says:

    I just heard that tracking has “Family Stone” set to earn just $6 million this weekend. Ouch!

  39. jeffmcm says:

    I didn’t even know it was coming out this weekend – would have sworn it was being released on the 23rd or so. Sucks for them!

  40. lindenen says:

    I had no idea it was coming out Wednesday until I saw the Drudge headline.

  41. martin says:

    my guess is that KK is tracking slightly older, which means it will slightly outperform over the weekend (underperform on 5-day though).

  42. Sanchez says:

    Remember it is a Wed. No holiday week. School in session. People have jobs. ALl plays a part.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    What does the failed Michael Mann movie have to do with it?
    (I’m joking)

  44. oldman says:

    I went to an early matinee today with my “wee ones” to see Kong. Maybe fifteen other people there. I was very disappointed. Not the worst movie I’ve seen; but a big let down. The script is a terrible hack job of the original. Key lines from the original are completely botched and land with a thud. kong is wayyy toooo loonnggg. You could easily trim an hour. Yes, there are some exciting moments; but lots of dead space in between. Neither I nor my “wee ones” have any interest in seeing Kong again. I think repeat business will be nil.

  45. Blackcloud says:

    One problem with the film could be that a lot of the new material comes in the first two hours, which are what most people are complaining about. If there’s anything different from the original, that’s where it is. Yet a lot of this material isn’t crucial to the narrative. Whereas the third hour should be the most dramatic, yet it’s also the one that has to follow the original most closely, hence its impact is diminished because you already know what’s going to happen. Kong is still going to fall off the building. The new stuff isn’t compelling because it isn’t essential, and the essential stuff isn’t compelling because it’s old.
    By the way, why does no one notice he’s got Ann at the end?

  46. Nicol D says:

    Not terribly surprised. Kong will be a hit, but it did have that whiff of Hulk or Godzilla to it. Over Christmas Narnia will have more legs. It has lots of snow and Santa Claus. Kong has Naomi Watts and creatures for the guys but not much for anyone else.
    The Titanic predictors were way off. I just had a friend call me to go and see it with him because his wife had no interest whatsoever. I know of no women who are into this picture.
    That is an issue. And Jack Black and Adrien Brody aren’t gonna bring ’em in. Bad male casting calls.
    Think about this with a Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford in the Black role.
    I mean I cannot ovestate how little of a draw Black and Brody are in these roles.
    The weekend will tell.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I think someone more like a Tommy Lee Jones or a Michael Caine would make more sense than Willis or Ford – a manly star who could command authority but with a sense of humor. Ford is lazy these days and Willis has managed to miscast himself in half the movies he’s been in for the last decade.

  48. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Why does Dave seem happy about Kongs lack of BO grunt? Phil will take you off the xmas card list from now on. Nicol D nailed it – the film unfortunately has miniscule draw for da femmes.
    Twasn’t beauty that killed the beast – it was a castrated editor.

  49. Blackcloud says:

    What editor?

  50. James Leer says:

    Not sure that Bruce Willis would have brought in more women. Harrison Ford, maybe…he could just point angrily at Kong for three hours.
    Then again, should we really revel in casting revisions on par with any studio hack? That’s what gives you pieces of shit like “Stealth.”

  51. lindenen says:

    If they’d cast Thomas Kretschmann as the male lead instead of creepy boat dude and instead of the two trolls they picked, my ovaries and those of many other women may have spontaneously combusted. Nobody really knows who he is but if you’d put his face prominently in the ads I suspect more women would take an interest. This begs the issue of why Hollywood seems so anti-alpha male lately.

  52. grandcosmo says:

    I said a few weeks ago that there is a built-in box office ceiling on this film because EVERYONE knows what is going to happen. They go to an island, find a giant ape, bring him back to NY, he runs amock and falls off the Empire State Building, the end.

  53. lindenen says:

    Yeah, but that could have easily been said about Titanic and any other bunch of Hollywood films, especially all the remakes.

  54. grandcosmo says:

    But on “Titanic” Cameron was smart enough to put in a love story that many people felt compelling and which opened up the film to many different sets of demographics. He also used special effects that were different than what had been seen before. “Kong” has great special effects but a lot of it is just the next step up from “Jurassic III”.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Plus the narrative hook of Titanic wasn’t ‘will the ship sink’, it was ‘what shall happen to these star-crossed lovers!’ (in Sideshow Mel voice).

  56. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Martin: Thanx for the correction. I thought a subway strike would have begun on 12/15 — hadn’t heard a newscast all day.
    Jeffmcm: Bookmark Box Office Mojo — it has a release schedule.

  57. Blackcloud says:

    And now $6.2 million for Thursday. A good drop, actually, but I’m sure Universal would be a lot happier if it were a 40% drop from $20 million, and not from $10 million.

  58. Wrecktum says:

    Well, it’s an OK drop, but Narnia’s Thursday is actually higher than Wednesday, so take that as you will.

  59. Lota says:

    Harrison Ford?! Bruce Willis?! Maybe for the over-60 chicks but I suspect gals my Ma’s age have little interest in a movie about the extra hairy primate main star (Kong).
    Benecio del toro or Javier Bardem….Now yer talkin!

  60. Terence D says:

    It’ll pick up this weekend. It had better for Uni’s sake.

  61. Josh says:

    It doesn’t matter if people know the ending. Everyone knows most endings to movies. It’s HOW they get there that makes a story.

  62. bicycle bob says:

    the key day for kong is today. if it bombs today than we could be looking at a huge bomb.

  63. martin says:

    the real question is whether Kong has legs. Unforunately these numbers basically suggest that yet, Fri-Sun KK will make a shitload of cash, but the anticipation of multi-quadrant play may have overly optimistic. KK will get its core geek and action fans and should reasonably get to at least $200. But KK finishing domestic with $250 feels short to me. On the other hand, KK is really going to clean up internationally, so financially everyone should be OK. Perception in the states may end up being one of modest disappointment. Jackson is happy, he got his dream project made. But the “biggest film of the year” pre-release press and ads may end up hurting the legacy of the film.

  64. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “Yes, there are some exciting moments; but lots of dead space in between. Neither I nor my “wee ones” have any interest in seeing Kong again. I think repeat business will be nil.”
    See, that’s the thing – this won’t get many repeaters. How many times will people want to see Naomi Watts (clearly 2005’s Darling [snort]) falls in love with a giant ape? THAT’S why Titanic was a success. The romance was the main force of the movie – people went back to watch the romance again. The sinking of the ship being on of the greatest scenes of all time was icing on the cake. I said last week that I can’t imagine many women wanting to imagine themselves in Naomi Watts’ place.
    My female friend almost cried though when we saw it… thing is, it wasn’t because of the romance or whatever, it was because it was an animal dying and animals dying gets her all the time.
    And for me, there was TOO much action. Like, it’d move from one action scene to another to another and then you think they’re gonna stop for a sec but noooo out come from the gross insects in a completely USELESS and POINTLESS scene (er, except to kill off a few more extras). And so when there was a quiet scene (the ice rink scene for instance – which looked like a deleted scene from The Polar Express mind you) I was greatful.
    I love how they ever so subtlely didn’t mention how they got Kong back to New York.
    It makes sense if the effects werent completed yet. The closeups of Watts in Kong’s hand looked really poorly done. Alot of the New York scenes looked like Sky Captain mixed with Sim City 2000 (ie; fake). And the dino stampede scene was only annoying because it went on too long and i found it rediculous at the amount of time people didn’t get stomped on. Absolutely rediculous.
    Jack Black’s reading of the films famous last time was also… not right.

  65. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Oh, and also: “King Kong bowed in 36 foreign territories on Wednesday and racked up an estimated $8 million, bringing its worldwide opening day to about $17.8 million.”

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

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I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

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