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King Kong (2005 film)

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King Kong (2005 film)

King kong 2005 poster

Director
Peter Jackson
Producer
Peter Jackson, Jan Blenkin, Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh
Writer
Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Starring
Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Jamie Bell, Evan Parke, Andy Serkis
Music by
James Newton Howard
Editor
Jamie Selkirk
Distributor
Universal Pictures
Release Date
December 5, 2005 (New York City)

December 13, 2005 (New Zealand)

December 14, 2005 (United States)
Running Time
187 minutes
Country
New Zealand, United States

King Kong is a 2005 epic monster film which is a remake of the 1933 and 1976 films of the same name.

The film was released on December 14, 2005 and made an opening of $50.1 million. While the film performed lower than expectations, King Kong made domestic and worldwide grosses that eventually added up to $550 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Studios history. Strong DVD 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, though it has been criticized for its length at three hours and eight minutes (while a three-disc extended DVD edition actually increases this to over three hours and twenty minutes). It won Academy Awards for visual effects, sound mixing, and sound editing.

PlotEdit

The film opens in New York City, 1933, 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. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favourite playwright Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter. On
King Kong
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 the rocks encircling the island. Carl and his film crew land to explore the island and discover a village built in front of an enormous 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 (7.6 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 in her bare feet and a nightgown as a sacrifice to Kong. 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.
Image005

Carl Dehnam running from a Venatosaurus

Captain Englehorn organizes 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 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. 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, disturbing 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 no replacement for Kong. Camera flashes from photographers enrage the gorilla. Kong breaks free from his chrome-steel chains and chases Jack across town, where he encounters Ann again. They share a quiet moment on a frozen lake in Central Park, before the army attacks. Kong climbs onto the Empire State Building, where he makes his last stand against the F8C-4 Curtiss Helldiver biplanes, 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."

CastEdit

MainEdit

New York Employed and UnemployedEdit

SS Venture CrewEdit

The rescue expedition for Ann:

The capture of Kong:

Killed by the Skull Island natives:

Note: Some of the actors played some of the sailors seen during Kong's captured

New Yorkers (Beginning)Edit

Vaudeville ActorsEdit

New Yorkers (Beginning) ContinuedEdit

Skull IslandersEdit

Cry Havoc ActorsEdit

New Yorkers Part 2Edit

Uncredited CastEdit

New YorkersEdit

Vaudeville ActorsEdit

Crew off the VentureEdit

Skull IslandersEdit

Theatre ActorsEdit

  • Many unknowns

Broadway OrchestraEdit

US ArmyEdit

Crew for the filmEdit

Directed byEdit

ScreenplayEdit

Based on a Screenplay byEdit

Produced byEdit

Original Music byEdit

Cinematography byEdit

Film Editing byEdit

Casting byEdit

Production Design byEdit

Art Direction byEdit

Set Decoration byEdit

Costume Design byEdit

Makeup DepartmentEdit

Production ManagementEdit

Second Unit Director or Assistant DirectorEdit

Art DepartmentEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Peter Jackson was a nine year old in the New Zealand town of Pukerua Bay when he first saw the 1933 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 film 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, 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 or Robert De Niro. With the overwhelming box office and critical success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 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.

Screenplay developmentEdit

Peter Jackson has stated that the script significantly changed between the 1996 and 2005 drafts. In Jackson's original 1996 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 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 film 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 and 2005, adding more character development to the 1933 story and acting as though the 1976 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.

Pre-productionEdit

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 said to be presented as more scientifically accurate than those portrayed in the 1933 version. However, it can also be argued that they are less accurate to the palaeontology of 2005 than the dinosaurs from the original were accurate to the palaeontology of 1933. The names of these and hundreds of other beasts are found in the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island.

DifficultiesEdit

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 film yet made. Universal Studios 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 film opened. Also, the film 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. The marketing campaign for King Kong started in full swing on June 27, 2005, 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 June 29.

Jackson also regularly published a series of 'Production Diaries', which chronicled the making of the film. The diaries started shortly after the DVD 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 installments 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 on December 13, 2005, 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 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.[citation needed] It is also the first time such material was published prior to the release of the film.[citation needed]

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.

With a take of $9.7 million box office on its opening day, and an opening weekend of $50.1 million, King Kong did not meet expectations of Universal Studios executives. Some media outlets even considered the film 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 films of 2005 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 films of 2005 worldwide).

Other factors also affect a film's profitability besides box office sales, such as the DVD sales. King Kong, sold over $100 million worth of DVD's in the largest six-day performance in Universal Studios history. As of April 3, 2006, King Kong has sold more than 7.5 million DVD's, accumulating over $140 million worth of sales numbers, domestically alone. As of June 25, 2006 King Kong has generated almost $38 million from DVD rental gross.

Thus, despite the film's inauspicious start at the box office, King Kong turned out to be very profitable. Ticket and DVD sales combined, the film earned well over $700 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Pictures history.

King Kong received a favorable critical response, garnering an 84% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The most common criticisms of the film were due to excessive length, lack of pace, over-use of slow motion, and some obvious use of CGI effects. Positive critical reviews regarded it as one of the few good epics and all-round best movies of 2005. Roger Ebert gave the movie four stars, and listed it as the 8th best film of 2005. Similarly, King Kong has been included in many critics' Top Ten of 2005 lists. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Art Direction, winning all but the last. Entertainment Weekly called the depiction of Kong the most convincing computer generated character in film in 2005. Some criticized the film for retaining racist stereotypes present in the original film, though it was not suggested that Jackson had done this intentionally.

TriviaEdit

  • Jack Black has claimed that he did not wear any make-up at all in the entire movie after hearing a false rumor that Clint Eastwood never wears any make-up in his movies. He also wore a hairpiece during filming rather than going through makeup to achieve the '30s hairdo' look.
  • The insects attacking Jack Driscoll at the canyon bottom are gigantic versions of the Weta, a species native to New Zealand and the namesake of Peter Jackson's production studio.
  • The role of "Jimmy" played by Jamie Bell, was created specifically for him.

    



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