“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is off to a strong start heading into its opening weekend, bringing in $10 million in Thursday previews despite receiving mixed reviews for its hectic pacing and overstuffed plotting. The film has scored the best preview results of any entry in Legendary’s Monsterverse series, just ahead of the 2014 film “Godzilla.” Warner Bros. and Legendary co-produced the film, which cost $135 million and was initially expected to open to $50 to $55 million and could bring in $80 to $85 million at the international box office.

The success of “New Empire” could ensure the continuation of Godzilla, Kong, Mothra, and other characters in the Monsterverse series, as last year’s “Godzilla Minus One” was also a hit. Directed by Adam Wingard, who oversaw 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the film features Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Dan Stevens and follows Kong and Godzilla teaming up to prevent a powerful, climate-threatening force from destroying Earth. Despite the lower opening of Wingard’s previous installment, “The New Empire” has the potential to be a hit for the companies involved.

Critics like Variety’s Owen Gleiberman have criticized the film as “overly busy boilerplate,” but audiences seem to be overlooking these reviews as they show strong interest in the latest installment in the Monsterverse series. The film marks a return to the big screen for Godzilla and Kong as they face a new threat on Earth, combining elements of action, adventure, and visual effects. With the potential to exceed expectations at the box office, “New Empire” could lead to future installments in the Monsterverse series.

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” has brought in impressive numbers in Thursday previews, setting the stage for a potentially successful opening weekend and international box office run. Despite criticisms of pacing and plotting, the film is resonating with audiences who are eager to see the legendary monsters back in action. With a strong cast and high stakes for Earth’s survival, the film is positioning itself as a hit for Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, ensuring that Godzilla, Kong, and other characters will continue to be a part of the Monsterverse series.

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