It wasn’t the most encouraging start.
Just as Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong was beginning postproduction in 2019, the company’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters opened — and underperformed. The movie, which cost $170 million to make, grossed only $386 million and earned middling reviews (42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
Given King of the Monsters’ less-than-stellar results, Legendary insiders had viewed Godzilla vs. Kong as perhaps the end of the current version of the franchise, even as executives believed they had saved the best for last. But then Godzilla vs. Kong opened.
The movie, which bowed stateside March 31 to $31.6 million, has crossed $400 million globally. It is the top-grossing Hollywood-produced movie released since the pandemic upended the movie business. And it has yet to open in multiple larger markets, among them the U.K., Brazil and Japan. It also marks the second-best performance in the four-movie MonsterVerse franchise, trailing only Kong: Skull Island’s 2017 tally of $566 million.
Now, instead of winding down the franchise, Godzilla vs. Kong may ramp it up. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Legendary is quietly taking steps to stretch the series into one or more installments, entering early talks with Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard to return for another round of monster-on-monster mayhem. If a deal closes, Wingard would be the first helmer to return to the monster fold since Godzilla kicked off the Legendary partnership with Japan’s Toho in 2014 with $524 million in global receipts.
As of now, there’s no timetable for the project as Wingard has become popular among studios. Warner Bros., for example, chased and landed the director for a live-action feature based on the Saturday morning cartoon Thundercats. And a Face/Off sequel at Paramount also beckons. And there is no known writer attached to the new MonsterVerse installment, either.
However, Wingard (CAA, Grandview, Morris Yorn) is said to have been very involved in creating Godzilla vs. Kong set-pieces as well as the world-building for the movie’s Hollow Earth plotline, and he and Legendary have been cooking up plenty of ideas already. In fact, one possible title being floated internally? Son of Kong.
This story first appeared in the April 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.