King Kong is a 2005 remake of the 1933 film of the same name directed by Peter Jackson and stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. Andy Serkis, through performance capture, portrayed Kong. The film's budget climbed from an initial US$150 million to a record-breaking $207 million. 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 Pictures 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 criticised for its length at three hours and eight minutes. It won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing.
The film opens in New York City, 1933, during the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) to star in his new movie with popular actor Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler). Darrow agrees when she learns her favorite playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrian Brody) is the screenwriter. As the SS Venture sails to mysterious Skull Island, Darrow and Driscoll fall in love. A warrant is out for Denham's arrest and Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) begins having second thoughts about the trip. Despite his attempt to turn around, the ship is lost in fog and crashes into rocks encircling the island. Denham and the crew explore the island and are attacked by its natives, who kidnap Darrow to sacrifice her to their god "Kong". Kong, a giant ape, takes Darrow to his lair in the island's interior. As the filmmakers and the ship's crew search the island for Darrow, they battle numerous dinosaurs, giant invertebrates, and other deadly and exotic dangers. Although the rescuers suffer many casualties, Denham wants to both rescue Darrow and capture Kong as a way to save his job. In Kong's lair, Darrow is frightened of the ape at first but realizes that he is gentle and curious about her. She entertains Kong with juggling and dancing from the theater; they watch the sunset together; and she attempts to communicate with him using sign language. Driscoll interrupts Darrow's befriending of the ape, and the ship's crew traps Kong as he chases them. Although Darrow opposes Denham's plan, the ape is subdued with chloroform for the trip to New York, and Denham promises the crew that Kong will make them all rich. Denham presents Kong the Eighth Wonder of the World on Broadway, starring Baxter and an imprisoned Kong. Darrow refuses to participate in the show, which sensationally recreates Kong's capture. Kong becomes enraged when he sees that the lead actress is not Darrow, then breaks his chains after camera flashes anger him further. As the audience flees, Kong destroys the theater and wreaks havoc in Times Square before Driscoll lures Kong away. The ape and Darrow reunite in Central Park, which calms him down, but they are interrupted by the military. Kong climbs the Empire State Building with Darrow in his grasp. Observing the dawn, Kong repeats the sign for "beautiful" that she used in his lair, causing Darrow to realize his intelligence. Before she can attempt further communication, they are attacked. Kong battles the Army's Curtiss Helldivers on the summit of the observation spire. He is hit by several bursts of gunfire, and gazes at a distraught Darrow before falling to his death. As Driscoll comforts Darrow, hundreds of people run to Kong's body. A man tells Denham that the airplanes killed him, but he replies, "It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast."