King Kong came roaring back to life in Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island, which easily topped the U.S. box office in its opening weekend with about $61 million. However, the film has quickly dropped off in subsequent weeks after its opening as the competition stiffened with the likes of Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers crowding the field. With a MonsterVerse planned from Warner Bros. and Legendary, producers were likely hoping for more from Kong: Skull Island’s domestic box office numbers.
Kong: Skull Island’s overseas box office, however, has far exceeded its domestic totals. The Jordan Vogt-Roberts-directed reboot opened in 64 other countries, and it’s outside the U.S. where the film has really excelled. It has performed particularly well in China and other East Asian countries — and despite its relatively low U.S. box office numbers, the film’s international totals have propelled it past the coveted $500 million worldwide milestone.
As reported by Deadline on Thursday, Kong: Skull Island’s international gross has reached $358.7 million, pushing its worldwide total to $509 million. The film has performed particularly well in China, where its $124 million total is nearing its U.S. gross of over $150 million. Skull Island is expected to finish in the top-10 highest-grossing English-language films of all time in China.
Kong: Skull Island has become the top grossing film of all time in Vietnam, where much of it was shot on location, and opened strongly in Japan, according to Deadline. Though the film’s $500 million worldwide benchmark is significant, in China it is nearing the 1 billion RMB milestone (approx. $144.9 million). The film is being distributed in China directly by Legendary Pictures, which is owned by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group.
Though it took a strong international showing to reach $500 million worldwide, it’s still a hugely impressive total for Kong: Skull Island. Its success is a good sign for Legendary and Warner Bros.’ planned MonsterVerse pitting King Kong and Godzilla against each other. Skull Island rode its strong reviews to a similarly strong performance at the worldwide box office, easily smashing its $185 million budget — and it still has a way to go before it’s done in China.
Kong: Skull Island has a good chance to pass Godzilla’s $529 million worldwide total, but it’s not likely to reach the latter’s $200 million domestic gross. That will invite questions of whether the film is really a box office success. Still, Skull Island’s relative letdown in U.S. theaters could simply be a case of bad timing and crowded competition in a surprisingly strong March box office. On the strength of its international performance, Kong: Skull Island could be considered a winner.