“Civil War” takes down “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire”, makes A24 history with $25 million opening

Kirsten Dunst stars in the provocative thriller from "Ex Machina" director Alex Garland.

While opinions on Alex Garland’s provocative thriller Civil War may vary, there’s no question that the film is dominating at the box office.

The dystopian action pic has surpassed projections with its opening weekend, debuting to $25.7 million in North America. This not only marks the biggest R-Rated start of the year so far, but the biggest opening weekend in A24’s history. Heading into the weekend, Civil War was already expected to overtake the previous title holder — Hereditary, which debuted to $13.6 million — but has well exceeded initial projections. Globally, the film is already sitting at a gross of $30 million.

Civil War follows Kirsten Dunst as a journalist traveling a violently divided United States,  newly torn apart under the authoritarian rule of a three-term president played by Nick Offerman. The film set in the not-too far-off future has already earned both criticism and praise for the way it plays on the current polarized state of American democracy.

<p>A24 / Courtesy Everett </p> Kirsten Dunst in 'Civil War'

A24 / Courtesy Everett

Kirsten Dunst in 'Civil War'

“The viewer is required to make their own interpretation,” Garland told Entertainment Weekly of Civil War and its fictional president. “ The film is actually being opaque. It's forcing the viewer to ask questions. Now, I know there are some people out there who don't like that, who want films to answer every question. They don't like being confused about the intentions of the people making the film. They want to be reassured. But as I see it, film is a broad church. There's lots of different people making lots of different sorts of films. I want to make them like this.”

An action-packed weekend at the movies continued with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire taking second place. The latest film in the MonsterVerse franchise earned an additional $15.4 million, bringing its domestic tally to $157.9 million. Globally, the film came out on top with an overall gross of $436 million. The New Empire is a followup to 2021's Godzilla vs. Kong, and pits the titular behemoths against a new colossus that threatens the survival of humanity. Directed by Adam Wingard, the movie stars Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, and Brian Tyree Henry.

<p>Columbia Pictures</p> Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O'Connor, Paul Rudd, Kamail Nanjiani, Logan Kim, Carrie Coon in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

Columbia Pictures

Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O'Connor, Paul Rudd, Kamail Nanjiani, Logan Kim, Carrie Coon in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

Another legacy franchise took third place with Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire adding $5.8 million to its $96 million domestic total. The film now sits at $159 million worldwide in its fourth weekend in theaters. The fifth film in the Ghostbusters franchise, Frozen Empire reunites the original cast of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts alongside cast members introduced in 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife: Paul Rudd, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon.

Despite already being available to rent and buy at home, Kung Fu Panda 4 continued to make its mark on the box office by earning another $5.5 million towards its $173 million total ($452 million globally).

Rounding out the top 5 is none other than Dune: Part Two, the latest chapter in the epic franchise based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel. Another $4.3 million brings the sequel’s domestic total to $272 million while the global gross has reached $683 million. 7 weeks after its debut, the allure of watching Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he treks across Arakkis with his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) and Fremen love interest (Zendaya) continues to drive moviegoers to theaters, especially when it comes to catching Denis Villeneuve’s latest in IMAX.

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