According to The Hollywood Reporter, the highly anticipated boxoffice debut of Universal's King Kong was unleashed in 3,568 theaters in North America this weekend and captured an estimated $50.1 million, and $66.2 million since its Wednesday release. The big-budget remake, helmed by director Peter Jackson and starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody, went day-and-date internationally, grossing a company-best $80.1 million overseas, bringing the worldwide cume to $146.3 million. Among domestic December debuts, the 187-minute Kong, which carries a PG-13 rating, proved to be the fourth-largest wonder on record.

Three other pictures have grossed more -- Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films The Return of the King ($72.6 million) and The Two Towers ($62 million), from New Line Cinema, and Buena Vista's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe ($65.6 million).

King Kong, Universal's biggest overseas day-and-date release ever, tallied a sound $80.1 million from 8,123 playdates in 55 territories, but the three-hour running time appears to have tempered the zealous boxoffice expectations for the five-day international opening. Pulling in an estimated $63.4 million in the Friday-Sunday period, the $200 million blockbuster emerged as the industry's ninth-biggest international weekend of all time, Universal said. "We're delighted with the results", said Andrew Cripps, president of London-based overseas distributor United International Pictures. "We have seen tremendous growth from opening day into the weekend, indicating that we do have the great playability that we had hoped for. And we still have 2 1/2 weeks of the best playing time of the year."

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Kong topped the boxoffice charts in 53 of the 55 markets in which it opened. The U.K. provided an estimated $11.9 million from 478 dates for a 45% market share; France pulled in $7.3 million from 721; Germany, $6.1 million from 739; Russia, $5.1 million from 311 for Universal's biggest opening ever in the market; Spain, $3.9 million from 614 for a 35% market share; Australia, $4.6 million from 248 for a 51% market share; Mexico, $3.8 million from 395 for a 50% market share; Brazil, $1.4 million from 309 for a 44% market share; Korea, $4.3 million from 197 for Universal's biggest opening ever in the market.

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Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.