According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures' King Kong swung into 3,567 theaters in North America on Wednesday, grossing just $9.8 million on its first day.

The Peter Jackson-helmed adventure also debuted day-and-date in 36 international territories and picked up $8 million from 4,695 dates. Kong was ranked No. 1 in every market it opened in and shattered industry records in many foreign territories. But Kong's muted domestic opening, especially in the wake of the movie's wildly enthusiastic reviews and muscular promotion, caught many observers off-guard.

Among Wednesday openers, Kong ranked 21st, far down the list from first-place Spider-Man 2 ($40.4 million) and its nearest competitors The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($34.5 million) and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ($28.5 million).

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Brian B.