Man at His Best

Beauty in the Beast

Latest King Kong movie headlined by Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John Goodman.

BY editors | Mar 9, 2017 | Film & TV

The giant ape with the hots for bottle-blonde damsels in distress makes his comeback this weekend! Eight decades since King Kong appeared before enthralled audiences, Kong: Skull Island stomps into cinemas.

It’s expected to be a huge worldwide hit, leveraging a global fan base built up through sequels, reboots and spin-offs that have turned the character into a giant of cinema.

The classic 1933 King Kong starring Fay Wray is a beauty and the beast tale that’s fascinated audiences and inspired filmmakers over eight decades, says Paul Dergarabedian, of media analytics firm comScore. 

"Though superheroes seem to rule the earth, monster movies will always have a place in the hearts of audiences, and this latest version should benefit from that interest," he adds.

The latest Kong monster mash is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, a newcomer to big studio properties, and features a stratospheric cast led by Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and a svelte John Goodman.

Set in 1973, with US involvement in the Vietnam War ending, explorer Bill Randa (Goodman) persuades a senator to let him gather a team to explore the seismology of a mysterious Pacific island isolated by storms.

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson attend the European premiere of Kong: Skull Island at Leicester Square in London. / Richard GOLDSCHMIDT/AFP

Watch out Wolverine

Jurassic World meets Apocalypse Now as Randa's military escort -- a motley band of brothers led by the brooding Lt Colonel Preston Packard (Jackson) -- give the big guy and an array of other scary monsters plenty to chew on.

Along for the ride is Captain James Conrad, an SAS tracker turned mercenary (Hiddleston) and plucky anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver -- Brie Larson in her first role since her Oscar-winning performance in Room.

Comic relief is provided by John C. Reilly's deliciously impish portrayal of half-crazed World War II pilot Hank Marlow, who’s been marooned on the island for 29 years.

Kong, meanwhile, shares his home with vicious lizard-like creatures that have been skulking in a primordial hollow beneath the island, occasionally surfacing to chomp on a small community of human natives. 

There's a spider the size of a KLCC parking lot, a flock of birds with beaks shaped like chainsaws, gargantuan water buffalo and a giant squid the size of, well, a giant squid. 

Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, says Skull Island could expect to gross upwards of USD50 million in its opening weekend, enough perhaps to topple hit X-Men spin-off Logan, Hugh Jackman's final movie as the X-Men mutant Wolverine.

"The iconic ape is pure cinematic cash for Warner Bros., which is expecting a colossal hit worldwide along the lines of USD500 million-plus," reckons Bock. 

"Why else would you dump USD190 million into a film, combined with an advertising campaign that rivals even the biggest summer blockbuster?"

Kong: Skull Island will be showing in cinemas on 9 Mar 2017