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WARNER BROS. PICTURES SURPASSES $5-BILLION AT WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE

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Warner Bros. Pictures has crossed the $5 billion mark at the global box office this year—only the second time in its illustrious history that the Studio has crossed that tremendous milestone. It is also the eighth time in the last nine years that Warner Bros. has earned more than $4 billion in a single year, marking an industry record. The announcement was made today by Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Additionally, setting a new Studio record in 2017, Warner Bros. had five of its feature film releases each take in more than $500 million worldwide (in order): Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ action adventure “Kong: Skull Island” (with Legendary Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures), starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly; Patty Jenkins’ action adventure “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine; Christopher Nolan’s sweeping epic “Dunkirk,” with an ensemble cast including Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy; New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT”; and, most recently, Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” teaming Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Raymond Fisher, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, which stands at more than $574 million and still climbing. The year’s highlights also include three more releases crossing $250 million worldwide: the animated feature “The LEGO® Batman Movie” (with LEGO System A/S); New Line’s horror thriller “Annabelle: Creation”; and Alcon Entertainment’s dramatic thriller “Blade Runner 2049” (with Sony Pictures).

In making the announcement, Kroll stated, “We are thrilled to reach this extraordinary benchmark as we come to the end of an amazing, record-setting year. Surpassing five billion dollars in a single year can only happen with an incredible level of hard work across all theatrical divisions, as well as the invaluable contributions of the many talented filmmakers and actors with whom we are so fortunate to collaborate. Congratulations to everyone who shares in this success.”

“KONG: SKULL ISLAND” THUNDERS TO THE TOP OF PH BOX OFFICE

kong skull island

Kong: Skull Island, Warner Bros. Pictures’, Legendary Pictures’ and Tencent Pictures’ epic reimagining of one of cinema’s mightiest monster myths, thundered to the top of the Philippine box office, earning a total of more than P77.86-M across 290 screens, with no signs of slowing down. The announcement was made today by Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines.

Opening virtually day-and-date across the globe, the action adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts brings Kong stomping back to the big screen at a whole new scale, alongside an acclaimed cast led by Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly.

In making the announcement, Soliven stated, “Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and his extraordinary cast and filmmaking team have delivered the crowd-pleasing monster movie that audiences across the Philippines have been waiting for. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the film’s incredible debut, and the responses of both critics and moviegoers promise that Kong will roar well into the season.”

In the US, Kong: Skull Island emerged victorious after a battle of the beasts that pitted the giant ape movie against Logan. Cresting a wave of good reviews, Kong: Skull Island topped the domestic box office, racking up a mighty $61 million which is above expectations. Early estimates had Kong debuting to between $45 million and $50 million.

The producers of Godzilla reimagine the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all in Kong: Skull Island, from Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures.

A compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer), the film tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.

Vogt-Roberts directed the film from a screenplay by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins. Kong: Skull Island is produced by Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni and Alex Garcia, with Eric McLeod and Edward Cheng serving as executive producers.

Now playing across the Philippines in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX, Kong: Skull Island is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

THE SOUND AND THE FURY: CREATING “KONG” OF “SKULL ISLAND”

kong skull island

For the filmmakers overseeing such a complex production as “Kong: Skull Island,” there was perhaps nothing more challenging or exhilarating than the creation of the title character. They certainly didn’t make things easy for themselves. “I always imagined King Kong as being his own species and defying any simple characterization or comparison with the creatures of our world,” says producer Thomas Tull.

Tull’s perspective was perfectly in sync with the director’s, whose iconic monster is like no other. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts confirms, “In our film, Kong is a throwback to a classic movie monster, not just an ape. I wanted our Kong to be more of a lonely god than ever before. Then I wanted to slowly reveal that he has empathy and pathos and can connect with others on an emotional level. Even though in our film he is god-like, there’s humanity to Kong—a heart that I think people will respond to.”

The effort to make Kong live and emote onscreen with as much detail and realism as possible involved a broad coalition of creative talents within the visual effects and animation teams, and specialists in concept art, sound and design, all unified through Vogt-Roberts’s vision for the character and his directive to think outside the box.

Premier visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic, which has spearheaded VFX for some of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history, helped bring Kong to life on a whole new scale. They were led by senior visual effects supervisor Stephen Rosenbaum and visual effects supervisor Jeff White.

The ILM team numbered almost 300 artists, animators and technicians, based in three separate facilities. ILM’s work on Kong took over a year and a half, eight months of which were spent designing the mythic figure. The principal task was to not only create a character with a presence and purpose, but to make him a powerful anti-hero as well. “Our inherent challenge was to have audiences feel an affinity for Kong and to imbue him with that element of humanity,” Rosenbaum explains.

Vogt-Roberts kicked off the process by asking the ILM team to evoke the essence of the classic 1933 film “King Kong,” preserving its cultural mystique and classic monster feel. It was a demanding mandate but one all the filmmakers took to heart as bringing together the best of both worlds.

This intersection of the epic and the intimate has produced some of the most visceral, original and pulse-pounding scenes in the history of the genre, as well as some unexpected, emotionally charged moments. White admits that some of his favorite scenes were the quieter moments where Kong connects to some members of the expedition team, or ponders Skull Island’s infinite beauty. “I particularly enjoyed scenes like when Kong is sitting quietly, gazing at the Aurora Borealis, interacts with Weaver (Brie Larson) to aid a stricken animal, and connects with Weaver and Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) on a cliff side. I think those moments are when Kong really comes alive as a character.”

In this new version of Kong, size matters. A lot. At 100-feet tall, he towers over other iterations…and the new visitors to Skull Island. “That’s important because that dimension gives Kong weight and a grandiose quality, where a human will look like a speck in the shadow of this colossus, and you see how insignificant we are in his world, where we really don’t belong,” White concludes.

Sound design was another important element in bringing Kong to life. Long before production commenced, the filmmakers experimented with different techniques to create Kong’s chilling, heartrending roar, as well as a whole universe of sounds that would give the action a visceral, theatre-shaking feel.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Present a Legendary Pictures Production, “Kong: Skull Island.” The film will be released in the Philippines in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX beginningThursday, March 9, 2017, from Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.