Hewitt thinks Narnia will triumph even on King Kong’s opening weekend.

Jonathan Last thinks Hewitt is overly optimistic.

Advantage: Push.

Last’s argument (particularly the economics) is persuasive. Whether the decline from the opening to second week will be 40-50% is questionable. It seems Narnia has high repeat viewer potential. I’m already planning on seeing it twice in the theatres. However, the idea that it will top King Kong for Kong’s opening weekend seems (economically) dubious.

Either way, I think the long-term revenue will go to Narnia, for one reason: children.

Here’s my brief comparison between some aspects of the two films.

1) Buzz. Advantage? Narnia. This is perhaps the most talked about and anticipated movie since the Passion of the Christ. The phenomenon that was The Passion transformed Hollywood, and many Christians are as excited to see this movie as they were The Passion. Its opening weekend is going to be huge.

2) Children. Advantage? Narnia. You can bet parents are going to take their children to Narnia multiple times. King Kong? Doubtful.

3) Nostalgia. Advantage? Narnia. Millions of people read the books as children. I highly doubt as many people have seen the original King Kong. Those visceral ties to childhood will go a long way for the adult audience, I think.

4) Quality. Advantage? King Kong. This surprised me. Right now, the Tomatoe-meter has King Kong coming in at a solid 100%. Narnia isn’t far behind at a solid 80%. It seems King Kong is a solid, well made-film with an emotional storyline.

5) Content. Advantage? Push. If values make a difference at the box office, then Narnia’s Christian mythology could drive it to the top. However, there’s nothing anti-Christian about King Kong. In fact, I am very optimistic that it will fit very well with the Christian worldview, if only implicitly.

One thing that may hurt Narnia: high-expectations backlash. Downplaying the movie because of high expectations could hurt the long-term revenue for the film.

I’ve now spent far too much of my evening thinking about Narnia and King Kong.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. this will be an interesting weekend for sure…I do think Narnia will win out in the long run as you state….


  2. You may have something there. Then again, if you check Rotten Tomatoes you see that Narnia has been reviewed more times than Kong and has more fresh ratings than Kong (16 compared to 12). Even with those “rotten” ratings (only four to be exact) its average rating is only half a point below Kong’s.

    Also consider: How many King Kong movies do we need? IMDb lists King Kongs produced in ’33, ’62, ’66, ’76. With rip-offs and “sequels” appearing at least ten times between 1938 and 1998.

    The only cinematic experience for those of us who loved Narnia as children were extremely terrible renditions done for T.V. in ’67, ’79, and ’88.

    Personally, I look forward to seeing Narnia. I will not however, spend nine bucks to see King Kong again.


  3. Melissa,

    I am predicting that King Kong continues its higher rating. It would have to have 5 out of its next 9 reviews be bad to be caught up. wihle possible, I’m open to K.K. being a better movie than Narnia.

    Also, the only version I’ve ever seen is the 33 version. I think I’m even unique in that I’ve seen that one–my hunch is that most people haven’t seen this one before. And even if they have, the special effects difference will force most people to see it anyway (like me, but I love going to the theatres anyway!).

    However, KK isn’t going to top Titanic simply because it doesn’t have Leo DiCaprio. I am convinced that he drove millions of teenage girls to see it far too many times.


  4. Ah, but don’t overlook a large factor in movie viewing: the family audience. With all of the violence and gore in movies nowadays, families with younger children look for movies that they can watch together. And with the likes of recent films like Chicken Little and such I am sure parents let out a collective groan of “not that again” (much like I did when my younger brother and sister begged to see Milo and Otis for the 47th time) at the prospect of seeing another lame kiddie movie. The draw for the family audience is a movie that is appropriate for children and easily understandable, while being entertaining and engaging enough for even the most intellectual of adults to watch more than once.

    Suffice it to say, the competition is fierce. Besides, ratings don’t always make the movie…people go to see even the most terribly rated of films. I’m holding out hope for Narnia over KK–if only because families typically buy more tickets than your average person or couple. We shall see.


  5. Also, Narnia has the whole church-market thing going for it. How many church or non-profit groups were sold bundles of tickets for an advanced showing of Kong? None that I know of. This weekend goes to Narnia. Aslan’s on the move…


  6. I for one am actually more excited about seeing Kong than Narnia, though I expect to like them both.

    While Narnia’s main advantage is that it will draw more children whose parents MIGHT not let them see Kong (itself a dubious assumption), what I haven’t seen anyone mention so far is that (I think) Peter Jackson will bring over a lot of his audience from LOTR, and the LOTR audience is largely the same as the Narnia audience. So Narnia and Kong may have more of a common audience than people realize.

    I think Narnia will have a longer run than Kong in the end, but Kong will take it’s own opening weekend.


  7. Even though this post has dropped off the homepage, I just want to let the record reflect that my prediction was proved correct and Kong did carry its opening weekend with 50 million (to Narnia’s 31.8 mil).

    But I’ll reiterate, since I’m on a roll, my original prediction that Narnia will outgross Kong in the end.


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