5 Reasons Godzilla X Kong Obliterated The Box Office

The box office needed a hero. It got two monster-sized heroes over the weekend in the form of Godzilla and King Kong. Warner Bros. and Legendary's "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" stomped into theaters and, quite frankly, obliterated expectations. The latest entry in the MonsterVerse pulled in $80 million domestically over Easter weekend which was significantly more than pre-release box office tracking suggested it was going to make.

Put simply, audiences ate up what director Adam Wingard had to offer, which was a massive monster beat-em-up even more overflowing with action than the filmmaker's 2021 entry in the franchise, "Godzilla vs. Kong." Internationally, "GxK" also outperformed expectations, pulling in $114 million for a total global opening of $194 million. It's exactly what movie theaters needed and it's great news for those who want to see this franchise continue. So, what went so right? Why did this kaiju duo sell so many more tickets than anyone expected? We're going to look at the five biggest reasons that "Godzilla x Kong" destroyed the box office to deliver one of the biggest global openings of 2024. Let's get into it.

People loved (and caught up with) Godzilla vs. Kong

When "Godzilla vs. Kong" was released in March 2021, it was one of the first Hollywood blockbusters that helped to get theaters back on their feet in the aftermath of the 2020 lockdowns. It did well at the time (especially by pandemic era standards) but was also available to stream on HBO Max the same day it hit theaters in North America. So even though the movie made $468 million at the worldwide box office, it was undoubtedly also a victim of circumstance.

However, in the years since, audiences have had plenty of time to catch up with "GvK," be it on Max, VOD, Blu-ray, or Netflix. More to the point, people clearly loved Wingard's take on the MonsterVerse, and that motivated people to get out of the house and see the next entry on the big screen. This is pretty much the exact same thing that happened with "Dune: Part Two" earlier this year, which was also a co-production between Warner Bros. and Legendary. Silly as it may sound, Godzilla and Kong should be regarded as A-list movie stars at this point.

Big monsters, bigger ticket prices

Not to keep up with the "Dune" comparisons here but "Godzilla x Kong" benefitted greatly from premium format ticket sales. The fifth movie in the MonsterVerse drew a huge crowd at premium format theaters such as IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and Cinemark XD, with those tickets accounting for a staggering 48% of the weekend's sales. Not unlike what happened with "Oppenheimer" last year, Warner Bros. was able to sell this as a "see it on the biggest screen possible" event, which helped goose the weekend's numbers. Granted, for those who are willing to leave the house to go to a theater, Godzilla and King Kong duking it out in Egypt seems like an easy enough sell on IMAX.

In any event, we're seeing more and more that yes, audience sizes have shrunk since the pandemic began, but those who are still going to theaters are happy to spend more than they used to for the right experience. This monster mash was resoundingly the right experience based on the ticket sales in the early going.

Word of mouth that matters

Even beyond opening weekend, the film's prospects are quite good. That's because word of mouth from moviegoers has been nothing shy of stellar. "Godzilla x Kong" managed an A- CinemaScore, and that remains one of the best metrics to determine whether or not people will continue to show up for a given movie beyond its first frame. Critics were more mixed on the film, as it currently holds a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, the audience rating is a stellar 92%, and the critics who liked it truly seemed to enjoy it. Critical approval is never a bad thing, but audiences are the ones who buy tickets, and their opinion matters most when it comes to the box office.

/News's Witney Seibold fell into the camp of liking the movie, and you can read his "Godzilla x Kong" review right here. The fact of the matter is that critics and audiences are going to disagree from time to time. But this isn't a "Venom" situation where many critics seemed to hate it. Rather, it was just that some people were buying the silliness that this movie was selling, and others just couldn't get into it. It was more of a taste issue for individual viewers when examined through a critical lens. Most viewers got what they paid for, and their expectations were in line with what Wingard delivered.

It's an up-the-middle, crowd-pleasing blockbuster

The first several months of 2024 were pretty brutal, with very few big movies to speak of delivering steady ticket sales. We were relying on movies like "The Beekeeper" and "Mean Girls" to keep theaters afloat. So, by the time "Dune: Part Two" arrived in early March, it was clear that audiences were ready for a big new blockbuster. That said, "Dune" is not your average sci-fi movie and isn't playing anything safe. There is an argument to be made that a large swatch of moviegoers were ready for something more traditionally crowd-pleasing. That's where "Godzilla x Kong" comes into play. It's a movie that plays well for both adult audiences and younger viewers. It's a big-budget tentpole film that is capable of playing to the widest possible audience. That's why it opened to $194 million worldwide. It's a movie that is, essentially, for everyone, and everyone was ready for it.

For as much as certain critics weren't having it with this particular movie, we're talking about a franchise that has been around for 70 years now. "Godzilla" is popcorn entertainment that has endured since the '50s. People love these characters, they love this universe, and they're prepared to meet the movies where they're at. In this case, they were very happy to appreciate an homage to the Showa era of the "Godzilla" franchise that runs in stark contrast to director Gareth Edwards' 2014 movie that started it all. The MonsterVerse is a franchise that contains many different flavors. The flavor here is one the masses enjoyed the taste of.

The Godzilla Minus One effect

Speaking of different flavors, it would be irresponsible not to talk about the impact of "Godzilla Minus One" as it pertains to the success of "Godzilla x Kong." Director Takashi Yamazaki's movie shocked audiences last year and became an unexpected hit around the world. Most crucially, "Minus One" made a great deal of money in the States, becoming by far the biggest Japanese-language "Godzilla" film ever in the U.S. It made over $100 million worldwide and recently became the first "Godzilla" movie to win an Oscar. It was a big hit and a movie that people absolutely loved.

The two movies in question simply could not be more different, and much has been made of that in the lead-up to the latest release in the MonsterVerse. That said, it's clear that there is room for both in the marketplace. More to the point, the success of "Godzilla Minus One" undoubtedly left a good taste in the mouths of many viewers. I think it's fair to say that led to a stronger desire to see more from Godzilla in general. There is no real need to lower one in order to raise the other. The rising tide lifted all boats, as it were.

"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" is currently playing in theaters.