I’ve been told that Kong: Skull Island (which I’m seeing tonight at the Arclight) isn’t tracking as strongly as it could or should. Word around the campfire is that it’s “kind of sandwiched in between Logan and Beauty and the Beast,” as one guy put it this morning, and that this might lead to an underwhelming performance on some level.

Instead of matching or even challenging Logan‘s $88-million first-weekend haul, Kong might be turn out to be more of a mid 50s thing by Sunday night. Which doesn’t sound bad until you consider the rumored $190 million budget, not to mention the p & a tab.

“What I heard a week or two ago was $40 to $45 million, which struck me as low,” a friend says. “I bet it opens to $55 or $60 million. That may not be enough for a movie rumored to cost $190 and change, but but it looks great and the money is right up there on the screen

From a 3.2 HE comment thread, written by yours truly: “If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that a significant portion of moviegoers don’t necessarily flock to a really clever, well made, high pizazz film. Some will this weekend, of course, but not all. The slow boats tend to hold off and wait UNLESS it’s a completely safe piece of shit like Jurassic World. Quality scares them on some level. They like brand comfort.

“I guarantee that a portion of them right now are going ‘wait, it’s set in 1973? The Vietnam War? I wasn’t even born then. 1973 feels exotic and challenging. Am I going to like this?’ Hollywood Elsewhere spits on the brand-comfort crowd, no offense.”

By the way: Ten or twelve years ago I used to have a couple of reliable tracking sources, and every so often I would run a story about this or that film’s expected performance according to data. I gradually let it all fall away, but I’d like to get into this realm again.