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Information about King Kong (2005 film)King Kong is a 2005 (8 years ago) remake of the 1933 (80 years ago) movie of the same name about a fictional giant ape called Kong. The movie was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Naomi Watts (6 walls) as Ann Darrow, Jack Black as Carl Denham, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll and, through performance capture, Andy Serkis as Kong. Serkis also played Lumpy, the galley chef on the SS Venture.
The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million. The movie was released on dec. 14, 2005 (8 years ago) and made an opening of $50.1 million. While the movie performed lower than expectations, Kong made domestic and worldwide grosses that eventually added up to $550 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal pictures (wallpaper) history. Strong DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) sales also added over $100 million to the grosses. It also received positive reviews, with some considering it one of the all-round best movies of 2005 (8 years ago), though it has been criticised for its length at three hours and eight minutes (while a three-disc extended DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) edition actually increases this to over three hours and twenty minutes). It won Academy Awards for visual effects, sound mixing, and sound editing.
ReleaseThe marketing campaign for King Kong started in full swing on Jun. 27, 2005 (8 years ago), when the teaser trailer made its debut, first online at the official Volkswagen website at 8:45 p.m. EST, then 8:55 p.m. EST across media outlets owned by NBC Universal (the parent of Universal Studios), including NBC, Bravo!, CNBC and MSNBC. That trailer appeared in theatres attached to War of the Worlds, which opened on Jun. 29.
Jackson also regularly published a series of 'Production Diaries', which chronicled the making of the film. The diaries started shortly after the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release of The Return of the King as a way to give Jackson's The Lord of the Rings fans a glimpse of his next project. These diaries are edited into broadband-friendly instalments of three or four minutes each. They consist of features that would normally be seen in a making-of documentary: a tour of the set, a roving camera introducing key players behind the scene, a peek inside the sound booth during last-minute dubbing, or Andy Serkis doing his ape movements in a motion capture studio. The production diaries were released on DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) on dec. 13, 2005 (8 years ago), one day before the U.S. release of the film. This was one of the first occasions in which material that would normally be considered supplementary to the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release of a film, was not only released separately, but done so in a prestige format; the Production Diaries came packaged in a box with a set of prints and a replica 1930s-era clipboard. It is also the first time such material was published prior to the release of the film.
A novelisation of the movie and a prequel entitled The Island of the Skull was also written. A multi-platform video game entitled Peter Jackson's King Kong was released, which featured an alternate ending. There was a hardback book entitled The World of Kong, featuring artwork from Weta Workshop to describe the fictional bestiary in the film. A number of spin-offs from the remake's franchise include books, novels, comics and video games.
PlotThe movie opens in New York City, 1933 (80 years ago), at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to be an actress in his new motion picture (wallpaper) against the famous and popular actor Bruce Baxter. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favourite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. On the SS Venture, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew over the legend of Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, their ship is sucked up into a fog and crashes into one of the encircling rocks.
Carl and his crew explore the island, with a deserted village against a wall, but they are attacked by the vicious natives. Mike, the sound technician, is speared, one of the sailors has his head crushed, and Jack is knocked out. Ann screams, and a roar beyond the wall responds. The matriarch vows to sacrifice her to "Kong", a 25 ft (8 m) gorilla. Englehorn and his crew break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten the load to steer away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island, Ann is hung from a balcony to the other side of a valley. The crew comes armed, but are too late. Carl sees the gorilla that has taken her. Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime, Ann discovers the remains of the previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong's hand with her ceremonial necklace to no avail. Kong takes Ann into the jungles of the island.
Captain Englehorn organises a rescue party to find Ann and hunt down the beast. The rescue party is caught up in a Venatosaurus pack's hunt of Brontosaurus, and four of them (including Herb, the cameraman) are killed while Jack and the rest of the crew survive. Ann manages to entertain Kong with juggling and dancing, but he does not kill her when she refuses to continue, leaving her instead. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp. It is here that Bruce Baxter and two others leave the group. The survivors stumble across a log where Kong attacks, shaking them off the log into a ravine. He returns to rescue Ann from three Vastatosaurus rex (modern Tyrannosaurus), and takes her up to his mountain lair. While there, Ann briefly attempts to communicate with Kong using sign language, but without success. Englehorn and the rest of the crew rescue whomever is left of the rescue party from the pit of giant insects, and as Jack decides to continue to search for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack comes to Kong's lair, and disturbs him from his slumber. As Kong fights a swarm of giant bats, Ann and Jack escape by grabbing the wing of a Terapusmordax and then jumping to a river. They arrive at the village wall with the angry Kong following them, where Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and struggles to get her back, but he is knocked out by chloroform.
In New York around Christmas, Carl presents Kong the Eighth Wonder of the World on Broadway. Ann has become an anonymous chorus girl and a double of her is used as a replacement in the play however Kong becomes enraged from the fake 'Ann' and breaks free from his chrome-steel chains. Causing chaos throughout the town searching for Ann by picking up several look alikes, Jack looks him in the eye and results in a chase across town where Kong eventually encounters Ann again. They share a quiet moment on a frozen lake in Central Park before they are interrupted by the military. Kong climbs to the top of the Empire State Building, and observing the dawning day repeats the sign for "beautiful" Ann had used in his lair, causing a shocked Ann to realize his intelligence. Before Ann is able to attempt further communication they are again attacked and Kong makes his last stand against the Curtiss Helldivers, on the summit of the oberservation spire, downing three of them. Ultimately Kong is hit by several bursts of gunfire from the surviving planes, and gazes at a distraught Ann for the last time before falling off the building to his death. Ann is greeted by Jack, and the reporters flood to Kong's corpse. Carl takes one last look and says, "It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast."
ProductionPeter Jackson was a nine year old in the New Zealand town of Pukerua Bay when he first saw the 1933 (80 years ago) version of King Kong. He was in tears in front of the TV when Kong slipped off the Empire State Building. At age 12 he tried to recreate the movie using his parents' super-8 camera and a model of Kong made of wire and rubber with his mother's fur coat for the hair, but eventually gave up on the project. In 1996 (17 years ago), he developed a version that was in pre-production for 6-7 months, but the studio cancelled it. This is most likely because of the release of Mighty Joe Young and Godzilla the same year. During this time Jackson had achieved the designs of the Brontosaurus and the Venatosaurus. He then began work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. No casting was ever done, but he had hoped to get either George Clooney (5 walls) or Robert De Niro. With the overwhelming box office and critical success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (15 walls) Universal contacted him during production of the second film, and he was paid $20 million USD to direct this film, the highest salary Hollywood ever paid a director.
Peter Jackson has stated that the script significantly changed between the 1996 (17 years ago) and 2005 (8 years ago) drafts. In Jackson's original 1996 (17 years ago) draft of the script, Ann was the daughter of famed English archaeologist Lord Linwood Darrow exploring ancient ruins in Sumatra. They would come into conflict with Denham during his filming, and they would uncover a hidden Kong statue and the map of Skull Island. This would indicate that the island natives were a cult religion that once thrived on the mainland of Asia, and all trace of the cult was wiped out, except for the few on the island. Instead of a playwright, Jack was the first mate and an ex-First World War fighter pilot still struggling with the loss of his best friend, who is killed in battle during a World War I prologue. Herb the camera-man was the only supporting character in the original draft who made it to the final version. Another difference was that Ann was actually caught in the V. rex's jaws in the Kong/3 V. rex fight. According to the draft, Ann was wedged in the mouth and slashed by the teeth; after the fight, Kong got her out but by some reason Ann got a fever, from which she recovered. (It did not say how Ann got it, but it was almost unmistakably an infection in one of her cuts). Jackson's first rough draft was described as a "tongue-in-cheek comedic movie with elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark and other films," according to Jackson himself. Originally, he wanted a comical "monkey-farce" to be released, but he credits Universal for pulling the plug, as he was able to rework things into what ended up on screen.
Other difficulties included the rewriting of the script between 1996 (17 years ago) and 2005 (8 years ago), adding more character development to the 1933 (80 years ago) story and acting as though the 1976 (37 years ago) version never existed. The process began with a nine minute animatic created by Peter Jackson and shown to the writing team, causing Philippa Boyens to cry. Jackson, alongside Christian Rivers and his team, created animatics for all the action sequences which wound up becoming the first stage in animation. The Empire State Building animatic in particular, was completely replicated in the final film.
Peter Jackson decided early on that he did not want Kong to act human, and so they studied hours of gorilla footage. Andy Serkis, who modelled his movement, went to the London Zoo to watch the gorillas, but was unsatisfied. He ended up going to Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas in the wild, with a company called Rainbow Tours. The resulting Kong is entirely a special effect, but he acts and moves very much like a real gorilla.
Apart from Kong, Skull Island is also inhabited by dinosaurs and other large fauna. However, though they may look similar, they are not the familiar species. Inspired by the works of Dougal Dixon, the designers have imagined what 65 million years or more of isolated evolution would have done to the dinosaurs. The creatures can be said to be presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 (80 years ago) version. However, it can also be argued that they are less accurate to the palaeontology of 2005 (8 years ago) than the dinosaurs from the original were accurate to the palaeontology of 1933 (80 years ago). The names of these and hundreds of other beasts are found in the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island.
The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million, making it at one point the most-expensive movie yet made. Universal pictures (wallpaper) only agreed to such an outlay after seeing a screening of the unfinished film, to which executives responded enthusiastically. In addition, it is estimated that marketing and promotion costs were about $60 million. Production had difficulties, such as Peter Jackson's decision to change composers from Howard Shore to James Newton Howard seven weeks before the movie opened. Also, the movie was originally set to be 135 minutes, but soon grew to 200, prompting Universal executives to fly to New Zealand to view a rough cut, but they liked it so their concerns were addressed.
ReceptionWith a take of $9.7 million on its Wednesday opening day, and an opening weekend of $50.1 million, King Kong did not meet expectations of Universal pictures (wallpaper) executives. Some media outlets even considered the movie to be a flop after its weak opening weekend, as at that point it was not on pace to make back its $207 million budget. Its opening weekend of $50.1 million, while good for most movies, fell short of the inflated expectations caused by the movie's enormous budget and marketing campaign.
However, King Kong was able to hold its audience in the subsequent holiday weeks and ended up becoming a domestic hit, grossing $218.1 million at the North American box office (putting it in the top five grossing movies of 2005 (8 years ago) domestically). King Kong fared much better in the international market, as it grossed $332.437 million outside North America, leading to a worldwide total of $550.517 million (putting it in the top five grossing movies of 2005 (8 years ago) worldwide).
Other factors also affect a film's profitability besides box office sales, such as the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) sales. King Kong, sold over $100 million worth of DVDs in the largest six-day performance in Universal Studios history. As of Apr. 3, 2006 (7 years ago), King Kong has sold more than 7.5 million DVDs, accumulating over $140 million worth of sales numbers, domestically alone. As of Jun. 25, 2006 (7 years ago) King Kong has generated almost $38 million from DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) rental gross.
Thus, despite the film's inauspicious start at the box office, King Kong turned out to be very profitable. Ticket and DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) sales combined, the movie earned well over $700 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal pictures (wallpaper) history.
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