Without treading into spoiler territory, the opening to Kong: Skull Island is an overly effective sequence that not only introduces Kong’s extraordinary abode, but it also gives audiences a taste of the film’s human element and, in particular, Hank Marlow, John C. Reilly’s erratic Lieutenant that wound up stranded on the primordial isle after his plane went down during the throes of World War II.
Remarkably, Marlow managed to survive his brief encounter with the island’s 100ft king, but had Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ original pitch received the green light from the Powers That Be, Kong: Skull Island would’ve launched into theaters two weeks ago with a very, very different opening.
While appearing on the latest episode of the Empire Podcast (via /Film), the filmmaker shed light on his proposed vision, and how it would’ve featured Kong go up against a shadow of his former self – in a manner of speaking. Yes, Vogt-Roberts wanted to draft in Peter Jackson’s version of the apex predator, which, at only 25ft in height, would’ve been dwarfed by the Kong of Skull Island. Alas, the studio decided against the director’s contentious pitch, which is frankly for the best, and it would’ve been a wholly unnecessary dig at Jackson’s movie from 2005 which is, quite literally, a different beast altogether.
“The alternate opening that I pitched to them, the studio said: ‘No. You’re crazy. You can’t do that!’ So it’s World War II. A full squad comes to this beach. They’re killing each other – and then suddenly, this giant monkey (that looks a lot like the monkey from the last ‘King Kong’ movie) comes out of the jungle. And they just kill it. It’s dead.
And you’re sitting there going, ‘Wait, did they just kill King Kong? Did they kill the hero of this film?’ And then you’d hear a roar and see a much bigger creature – the real King Kong. That was the crazy version of me wanting to send a message that this isn’t like other King Kong movies that you’ve seen. The studio were like: ‘You can’t do that.’”
Now approaching its second week on the market, Kong: Skull Island has so far collected around $260 worldwide. It’s a mighty debut for the great simian, but with a Godzilla sequel and an epic crossover movie also incubating in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, the studio will be hoping that that box office tally will continue to rise as time wears on.
Next up for WB is the release of Godzilla: Kong of the Monsters in 2019, and if you stuck around after the credits rolled on Skull Island, you’ll no doubt have a fair idea of what to expect from Michael Dougherty’s monstrous sequel.