My guess is that the movie will still end up doing okay when you add in foreign sales, DVDs and the rest. And if it’s as good as some critics say, the word of mouth will probably boost it this weekend.
But it’s clearly not doing as well as Hollywood expected. I’m not that surprised. Here’s my theory. Most everyone knows how King Kong ends. For at least a generation Americans have been taught that gorillas aren’t dangerous and mean but peaceful and lovable. Unlike dinosaurs — which really do occupy an instinctual niche of fear in our imaginations — we’ve learned to see ourselves in primates. Nobody wants to see Kong die. Or, at least people are reluctant to take their kids to a movie where the kids will leave crying over the big ape. All of the hype about how Kong pulls on your heartstrings (most of which I saw on Drudge) probably didn’t help. Would anyone want to see Babe if they knew at the end of the film he became bacon?