According to studio estimations released on Sunday, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” surged to a $80 million opening on 3,861 North American theaters, stomping on forecasts.

The highly anticipated Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures film starring Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry opened with the second-highest opening of the year, narrowly missing the $81.5 million opening of “Dune: Part 2.”

Forecasts had estimated that the first weekend of “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” in which the monsters cooperate rather than confront each other, would bring in closer to $50 million.

“It’s a cinematic event, and we’re seeing these iconic characters doing things we’ve never seen them do before,” said Mary Parent, chairman of worldwide production for Legendary. “There’s big swaths of the film that don’t have any dialogue, where we put you with the characters, it’s a very mythic experience.”

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” which debuted at number one this past week, came in second place with $15.7 million, bringing its two-week total to $73.4 million.

“Dune: Part Two” maintained its outstanding performance in its fifth week, finishing in third place with a $11.1 million take and a $252.4 million domestic total.

Of the larger MonsterVerse franchise from the studios, the more recent movie had the second-biggest opening. In 2014, “Godzilla” earned $93.2 million. In the creature’s roughly 70-year cinematic history—which began and was primarily filmed in Japan—it was the highest grossing film. Over $200 million was made in North America, and over $500 million worldwide.

“Godzilla x Kong” comes just four months after the most recent Japanese rendition, the critical favorite and Oscar winner “Godzilla Minus One.”

However, audiences—many of whom were prepared to shell out more money for IMAX and other special formats—clearly did not experience a Godzilla oversupply.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at data company Comscore, stated, “These are literally two of the biggest movie stars in the world, and you have to see them on the biggest screen possible with the biggest sound possible.”

The year is currently 6% behind 2023 due to the release of “Godzilla x Kong,” “Dune Part Two,” and “Ghostbusters,” compared to 20% behind on the eve of the March 1 release of “Dune.”

“They’ve made up a lot of ground, but the industry was feeling pretty glum right before ‘Dune Part 2’ opened,” Dergarabedian added.

The upcoming films of “Planet of the Apes,” “Mad Max,” “Inside Out,” and “Deadpool” are among the many summertime releases that, although not necessarily blockbusters, have the potential to be huge smashes. Ryan Gosling’s “The Fall Guy” is one such title.

This is encouraging for the theatrical film industry as it tries to survive, but it’s unlikely to top $1 billion globally in 2023, when “Barbie” did, with “Oppenheimer,” its release date companion, following closely behind.

“‘Barbenheimer'” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, according to Dergarabedian.

Comscore estimates that Friday through Sunday will see ticket sales at American and Canadian theaters. The final domestic numbers will be made public.

1. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” 80 million.

2. “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” $15.7 million.

3. “Dune: Part Two,” $11.1 million.

4. “Kung Fu Panda 4,” $10.2. million.

5. “Immaculate,” $3.3 million.

6. “Arthur the King,” $2.4 million.

7. “Late Night With the Devil,” $2.2 million.

8. “Tillu Square,” $1.8 million.

9. “Crew,” $1.5 million.

10. “Imaginary,” $1.4 million.

Topics #Box Office #Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire