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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 09:11 GMT
Monster launch for King Kong film
Naomi Watts in still from King Kong
King Kong goes on release in the US and Canada from Wednesday
Peter Jackson's version of King Kong will get one of the biggest film launches in US cinema history.

Universal Pictures said 3,568 cinemas would be screening the film. Shrek 2 holds the record for a movie launch, opening in 4,163 cinemas last year.

More than 6,000 cinemas in 55 other countries will also show the film, with its UK launch taking place on Thursday.

Universal hopes its initial takings will rival the $66m receipts for Jackson's first Lord of The Rings film.

The final two Rings films took more than $100m in their first five days, as did Spider-Man.

Brandon Gray, president of cinema website Boxofficemojo.com, said many variables would have an impact on Kong's takings.


Its three-hour running time restricts the number of times it can be screened in one day, while in the US, it is rated PG-13 - which cautions parents that some material may be unsuitable for children.

In the UK, it has been given a 12A rating, which means under-12s must be accompanied by adults.

"The question is not, 'will it be big?' The question is, 'how big will it be?'," he said.

"It is poised to be the highest-grossing movie of December."

With the film costing $200m to make, Universal needs it to make a profit.

While several other films have had wider launches, the studio is pleased with the interest from cinema owners.

Universal film distribution president Nikki Rocco said: "They want it, and they want it in as many dates as they can get it."

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