Legendary Entertainment is undergoing some transitions now behind closed doors, in the wake of the news that CEO Thomas Tull is stepping down from his position. It remains to be seen what impact this has on such upcoming projects as the Legendary-backed franchise installment Pacific Rim: Uprising, as well as the Warcraft sequel that may or may not start moving forward soon. However, Tull’s departure as CEO won’t have an impact on the two Legendary releases hitting U.S. theaters over the next couple of months – Zhang Yimou’s historical fantasy adventure The Great Wall and Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ King Kong reboot Kong: Skull Island.
The Great Wall is already playing in China; however, it has somewhat under-performed at the Chinese box office so far and isn’t expected to fare that much better in the U.S. (though, obviously, that narrative could change over the month left until then). Either way, The Great Wall‘s performance overseas gives Legendary all the more reason to double its efforts towards ensuring Skull Island‘s own financial success; via a final-wind marketing push that, for starters, includes a banner for the PG-13 Rated King Kong reboot that has now been released, online.
Kong: Skull Island takes place shortly after the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, as a team of explorers (including, a war veteran and a wartime photographer played by Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, respectively) travel on an exploratory mission to the eponymous island, unaware of the giant fantastical beasts that await them there. Samuel L. Jackson costars in the film along with John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy), John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane) and The Great Wall costar Jing Tian, among other actors whose names (or, in Hiddleston, Larson and Jackson’s case, faces) are included on the Skull Island banner featured below.
As this banner further illustrates, the version of King Kong featured in Kong: Skull Island is much larger than any previous iteration of the “Eighth Wonder of the World” that has been depicted onscreen in the past. One of the reasons for Kong’s increase in size here is that Legendary has plans to eventually pit the King of Skull Island against the King of Monsters himself, Godzilla, in the Godzilla vs. Kong movie that is currently scheduled to arrive in 2020. Hence, the version of Kong featured in the shared King Kong/Godzilla universe being plotted out by Legendary, has been sized-up partly in order to make his impending showdown with “Gojira” a more even match.
One of the connective tissues already known to link Kong: Skull Island and Legendary’s 2014 reboot of the Godzilla franchise directly, is Monarch. The organization in question was introduced in the Godzilla reboot and is dedicated to keeping a close eye on the world’s various Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms or MUTOs; Kong and his fellow Skull Island-dwellers, presumably among them. Monarch has already been in existence for several decades by the time Skull Island picks up, though it’s not clear yet how significant – or not – their role in the film’s narrative actually is.
With both a cinematic universe and Legendary’s future plans hinging on its success though, Skull Island is certainly under pressure to deliver, as a fun and thrilling blockbuster experience. Fortunately, thus far, that’s exactly what the film looks to be for Legendary, Warner Bros. and general audiences alike. UPDATE: And now Legendary has released the second Kong: Skull Island banner online, as you can see below: