‘Godzilla x Kong’ maintains box-office dominion in second weekend

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NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” easily swatted away a pair of challengers to hold on to the top spot at the box office for the second week in a row, according to studio estimates Sunday.

After its above-expectations $80 million launch last weekend, the MonsterVerse mashup brought in $31.7 million over its second weekend, a 60% drop from its debut. The Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures release, directed by Adam Wingard, has thus far outperformed any of the studio’s recent monster films except for 2014’s “Godzilla.”

But with $361.1 million worldwide in two weeks, “Godzilla x Kong” could ultimately leapfrog the $529 million global haul of 2014’s “Godzilla.” The latest installment, in which Godzilla and Kong team up, cost about $135 million to produce.

“Godzilla x Kong” extended its box-office reign as another primate-themed movie arrived in theaters. Dev Patel’s “Monkey Man,” an India-set revenge thriller released by Universal Pictures, opened in 3,029 North American theaters with an estimated $10.1 million.

That marked a strong debut for Patel’s modestly budgeted directorial debut in which he stars in a bloody, politically charged action extravaganza. “Monkey Man,” which cost about $10 million to make, was dropped by its original studio, Netflix, after which Jordan Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions swooped in.

The weekend’s other new wide release, “The First Omen,” from Disney’s 20th Century Studios, struggled to make a big impact with moviegoers. It came in fourth with an estimated $8.4 million in ticket sales in 3,375 theaters, while collecting an additional $9.1 million overseas. The R-rated horror film, which cost about $30 million to make, is a prequel to the 1976 Richard Donner-directed original starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick.

This version, directed by Arkasha Stevenson and starring Nell Tiger Free, Tawfeek Barhom and Bill Nighy, follows 2006’s “The Omen,” which opened to $16 million and ultimately grossed $119 million.

The tepid opening for “The First Omen” allowed Sony’s “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” to take third place with $9 million in its third weekend of release. The sci-fi comedy sequel has collected $88.8 million domestically and $138 million worldwide.

Warner Bros.’ “Dune: Part Two” continues to perform strongly. It added $7.2 million in its sixth week, dipping just 37%, to bring its domestic total to $264 million.

One of the week’s biggest performers was in China, where Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning “The Boy and the Heron” landed in theaters. The acclaimed Japanese anime is setting records for a non-Chinese animated film. After opening Wednesday, its five-day total surpassed $70 million, a new high mark for Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” $31.7 million.

2. “Monkey Man,” $10.1 million.

3. “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” $9 million.

4. “The First Omen,” $8.4 million.

5. “Kung Fu Panda 4,” $7.9 million.

6. “Dune: Part Two,” $7.2 million.

7. “Someone Like You,” $3 million.

8. “Wicked Little Letters,” $1.6 million.

9. “Arthur the King,” $1.5 million.

10. “Immaculate,” $1.4 million.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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