Godzilla X Kong Stomps Ghostbusters And Scores $75 Million Opening Weekend At The Box Office

If the Barbenheimer phenomenon taught us anything, it's that audiences love the combination of hot pink aesthetics and wide-scale destruction — and "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" is here to prove it. After setting a new record for the MonsterVerse with $10 million from Thursday night preview ticket sales, the team-up sequel is now on track for the franchise's biggest opening weekend since 2014's "Godzilla," the movie that kicked things off.

"Godzilla vs. Kong" director Adam Wingard returned to helm "The New Empire," in which King Kong has a cool new metal glove and Godzilla's atomic energy has a pink glow. It looks like those selling points were enough for audiences, as Deadline reports that "Godzilla x Kong" grossed a massive $37 million on its opening day (including the $10 million from previews) and is expected to gross $75 million or more over its first weekend in theaters, with potential to climb as high as $80 million. That far outstrips earlier box office projections of a debut in the $50 million range. 

Opening night audience exit polling has given "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" an A- CinemaScore, the second-highest in the franchise behind the A score received by "Godzilla vs. Kong" ("Godzilla," "Kong: Skull Island," and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" all received B+ grades). Critics are more mixed, with the film's Rotten Tomatoes score currently standing at 55%, but /News's Witney Seibold gave "Godzilla x Kong" a favorable review, describing it as "a Joycean stream-of-consciousness ramble escaped from the mind of a sugared-up eight-year-old" (complimentary). 

The other empire

Unfortunately, good news for the MonsterVerse is bad news for the 'BusterVerse. Last week's big new release "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" debuted to roughly the same numbers as 2021's "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," but going up against "Godzilla x Kong" in its second weekend was always a bad idea. Both are PG-13 genre films targeting a broad demographic, from preteens to grown-ups, with an emphasis on fun and spectacle and monsters. They're just too similar, and while "The New Empire" may have lost a few ticket sales to the competition, it's "Frozen Empire" that's really been flattened.

Per Deadline, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" is expected to gross just $15.5 million in its second weekend at the domestic box office, a steep 66% drop from its $45 million opening. After the first 10 days in its domestic theatrical run, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" had grossed $87.5 million; "Frozen Empire" is on track to end its first 10 days with $73.2 million.

At this point it seems unlikely that "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" will break even at the box office, but it's not a total disaster. Just a sign, perhaps, that the franchise has hit a wall.