And now, ladies and gentlemen, before I tell you any more, I'm going to show you the greatest thing your eyes have ever beheld. He was a king and a god in the world he knew, but now he comes to civilization merely a captive, a show to gratify your curiosity. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World!
King Kong (キングコング is a giant ape monster who first appeared in the Kingu Kongu)1933 RKO Radio Pictures film King Kong. His first appearance in a Toho film was the 1962 Godzilla film, King Kong vs. Godzilla.
One of the most well-known monsters in all of cinema, Kong made his debut in the 1933 film bearing his name. Though he has been reimagined many times in many different films, Kong is always depicted as a gigantic gorilla-like ape residing on a remote island hidden from civilization and inhabited by other bizarre creatures. Typically, Kong is worshiped as a god by the natives living on the island, who often sacrifice women to him, whom he accepts as his "brides." In the original film and its two remakes, Kong is taken away from his island by an expedition team from the United States and brought back to New York, where he escapes and goes on a violent rampage before climbing a skyscraper and being gunned down by military aircraft and falling to his death. Toho acquired the rights to use Kong for their 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla, where he was drastically scaled up and pitted against Toho's flagship monster Godzilla. Toho made another film featuring Kong, King Kong Escapes, in 1967, where Kong battled against an evil robotic duplicate dubbed Mechani-Kong. The original King Kong was remade in 1976 by Dino De Laurentiis and Paramount Pictures, and a sequel to this remake titled King Kong Lives was released in 1986. Universal Pictures released their own remake in 2005, directed by Peter Jackson. In 2017, Kong became part of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.' MonsterVerse after appearing in the film Kong: Skull Island, which is meant to set up another confrontation with Godzilla in the film Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021.
This is an overview page. To view information on specific incarnations of King Kong, please visit the King Kong incarnation subpages.
King Kong was named by Merian C. Cooper who, after consulting with his friend W. Douglas Burden, decided upon the name "Kong" due to his liking of single-syllable film titles with peculiar sounds and liking of the hard 'K' sound. The prefix "King" was later attached to the original film's title, and by extent Kong himself, after a complaint from executives at RKO who refused to accept the title due to it having "a Chinese sound" and being too similar to the name of Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's 1927 film, Chang. Prior to King Kong being decided upon, the titles "The Eighth Wonder" and "The Beast" were considered, the former of which would be extended to The Eight Wonder of the World and used as a nickname for Kong within the film.
For Kong's appearances in the Japanese Toho films King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, as well as Japanese releases of the other American Kong films, his name is converted into katakana as Kingu Kongu (キングコング). These incarnations of Kong are also given several Japanese subtitles, including Great Strong Monster (大怪力怪獣, Giant Devil Dai Kairiki Kaijū) (巨大なる魔神, Kyodainaru Majin) and Devil of the South Seas (南海の魔神. Nankai no Majin) In King Kong Escapes, the Mondo Islanders refer to Kong as Bon Kong (ボーコング, with 'Bon' meaning "King" in their language. For his appearance in Bō Kongu)episode 38 of the television program Go! Greenman, King Kong's name was changed to Gorilla (ゴリラ, presumably due to issues with Toho no longer holding the rights to Kong. Additionally, the King Kong from Gorira)Kong: Skull Island is given the subtitle Guardian God of Skull Island (髑髏島の守護神 and is referred to as the Giant God of Skull Island Dokurotō no Shugoshin) (髑髏島の巨神 and The Greatest King Dokurotō no Kyoshin) (最大の王 by the film's Japanese title and trailer, respectively. Saidai no Ō)
The incarnation of King Kong featured in King Kong Escapes is sometimes denoted as the Second Generation King Kong (２代目キングコング. Nidaime Kingu Kongu)
The character is often referred to as just Kong, with the "King" title only used during the ill-fated promotional events exhibiting him to the public. In King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes, he is referred to primarily by his full name of "King Kong." In Escapes specifically, he is initially known only as "Kong" before Carl Nelson hears a native of Mondo Island refer to him as Bon Kong, which he translates as "King Kong." In the MonsterVerse, he is only referred to as "Kong" onscreen and in the films' titles, though tie-in media such as Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization, Kong: Skull Island - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and solicitations for Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, as well as the Japanese title for Kong: Skull Island, do use his full name of "King Kong."
In all of his appearances, Kong mostly resembles a giant silverback gorilla, with either light black or brown fur. Kong varies between knuckle-walking like a real gorilla and walking upright like a human, sometimes utilizing both forms of locomotion in the same film. Kong typically has an upright human-like posture and primarily walks upright, although in the 2005 film he more anatomically resembles a real gorilla and moves like one. In this film, Kong's entire body is covered in scars, in order to give him the appearance of being both old and battle-hardened.
In all of his appearances, Kong is portrayed as a tragic and sympathetic monster. Kong lives a very solitary and difficult existence, constantly being attacked by the vicious giant creatures that live on his island. Kong rarely attacks unless provoked, and is capable of causing mass destruction due to his size and strength, which causes human beings to fear and attack him. Kong has a soft spot for human women and will do anything to protect a woman that he likes, whether it be battling against another monster or military forces. As a result of his experience in fighting other creatures, Kong displays a degree of strategy in his battles and rarely ends a fight without making sure that his opponent is either dead or incapacitated.
Kong demonstrates at least semi-sapience in all of his film appearances. He frequently utilizes environmental objects while fighting, and learns over the course of a battle. In the 2005 film, Kong repeated the sign for "beautiful" to Ann Darrow, who had shown it to him earlier, showing just how intelligent he is.
In Kong: Skull Island, Kong demonstrates a degree of altruism, rescuing a Sker Buffalo that is pinned underneath a downed helicopter, and later rescuing Mason Weaver during his battle with the Skull Devil. The film's official tie-in comic, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, establishes that Kong actively fights to protect life on the island, as he intervenes on several occasions to defend humans from attacking creatures like Death Jackals, Sirenjaws, and Mother Longlegs. While Kong will kill humans if they are actively attacking him or causing harm to life on the island, he is never aggressive towards innocents or non-hostile individuals. Confident in his noble intentions, Monarch entrusts Kong to defend Skull Island and keep its MUTO ecosystem in check.
In the original 1933 film, the 1976 remake, King Kong Lives, and the 2005 remake, Kong is among the last living members of a giant species of ape that lives on the mysterious Skull Island, which is inhabited by other giant creatures as well as a tribe of natives that worship him as a god. Supplementary materials for the 2005 film reveal that incarnation of Kong to be the last surviving member of a species called Megaprimatus kong, and that his kind are likely descended from Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate to have ever lived and a close relative of modern orangutans, rather than gorillas.
The 1933 Kong's backstory is elaborated upon in the 2005 prequel novel Kong: King of Skull Island. According to this novel, Kong is the last surviving member of a species of huge apes known as kongs that once were numerous on Skull Island. While he was still an adolescent, Kong and his parents were attacked by a pack of dinosaurs called Deathrunners and their huge matriarch Gaw. Kong's mother and father were both brutally killed in the attack, but Kong survived and grew up with an intense hatred for Gaw and all the meat-eating dinosaurs on the island. Eventually, Kong took his revenge by killing Gaw, establishing himself as the undisputed king of Skull Island and the god worshiped by the natives.
The backstory for the 2005 Kong has been given off-screen by people involved in the making of the film. In an interview with the BBC, director Peter Jackson states that Kong never knew his parents because they were "probably killed by dinosaurs" when he was still young and that he had siblings which were also deceased. In Cinefex #104, Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop explained of the giant gorilla bones in Kong's lair by stating "We decided to give Kong a graveyard of his ancestors. [...] Gorillas do mourn their dead, and this was where Kong mourned the loss of the only thing that he had social interaction with — it could be his father or mother." The Making of King Kong: The Official Guide to the Motion Picture states that the skull seen among the gorilla remains was Kong's father.
In King Kong vs. Godzilla, Kong instead comes from an island called Faro Island, where he is worshiped by the local natives as their mighty god. In King Kong Escapes, Kong is a legendary giant ape that resides on Mondo Island.
In Kong: Skull Island, Kong is established as the last living member of his species, and still a growing adolescent. Kong's family was wiped out fending off malevolent creatures called Skullcrawlers that threatened all other life on the island. A painting inside the Iwis' temple to Kong depicts what appears to be Kong kneeling in front of the carcasses of his parents, suggesting that he witnessed their deaths. Kong's birth is shown in detail in the official tie-in comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Kong's parents were the last two members of their kind on Skull Island, and when his mother went into labor with him, they were attacked by a pack of giant Skullcrawlers. Kong's father fought the beasts off while his mate delivered their son, and hid the infant away inside a nearby cave. Kong's parents were both subsequently slaughtered by the Skullcrawlers in front of him, and died lying next to each other. The infant Kong knelt in front of their corpses and wept for the parents he never knew, and from that day on used his rage to protect the other creatures of the island from malevolent monsters like the Skullcrawlers.
These are incarnations of King Kong that have their own pages or subpages devoted to them.
- King Kong 1933 (King Kong (1933))
- King Kong 1962 (King Kong vs. Godzilla)
- King Kong 1967 (King Kong Escapes)
- De Laurentiis King Kong (King Kong (1976) and King Kong Lives)
- King Kong 2005 (King Kong (2005))
- MonsterVerse King Kong (Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla vs. Kong)
- Main article: King Kong/1933.
King Kong was created by Merian C. Cooper, who licensed the character and story to RKO Radio Pictures. RKO released the original King Kong film in 1933. Later that same year, RKO released Son of Kong as a sequel to the film. Though a canceled film pitting Kong against a giant version of Frankenstein's monster entitled King Kong vs. Prometheus was reportedly considered, King Kong did not appear in another film until 1962.
King Kong was first discovered on Skull Island by an American film crew led by Carl Denham. The natives on the island kidnapped Ann Darrow, the crew's leading lady, and sacrificed her to Kong, who carried Ann off into the jungles of the island. At one point, Kong left Ann on a tree and wandered off to deal with the rest of the film crew, who were pursuing him. As the crew attempted to cross a chasm on a crude log bridge, Kong lifted the log and twisted it, causing much of the crew to fall to their deaths in the abyss below. Jack Driscoll survived, and crossed the chasm to rescue Ann. Meanwhile, a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered Ann on the tree and attempted to eat her. Kong arrived and battled the T-Rex, and killed it by breaking its jaw. Kong took Ann to his home in a cave on a mountain, where he was attacked by a giant cave serpent. Jack reached the cave and reunited with Ann, and the two managed to escape from Kong while he was distracted by a Pteranodon. Enraged, Kong followed the two to the native's village, tearing down the wall and wreaking havoc. Using a store of smoke bombs he brought on the voyage, Carl Denham and his crew managed to knock Kong unconscious and subdue him.
Denham brought Kong back to New York on board the crew's ship, the Venture, intending to profit from showing Kong to the public. Denham arranged a show at a theater in New York, where he publicly showed the captured Kong to an audience, accompanied by Jack and Ann. When photographers began taking pictures of Ann, Kong believed they were attacking her and broke free from his chains, destroying the theater in a fit of rage. Ann, Jack, and Denham escaped unharmed, but Kong broke free from the theater into the streets, where he overturned cars, stomped on fleeing citizens, and destroyed a train. Kong began to scale buildings looking for Ann. He eventually found her in a hotel room that she fled to, and abducted her again. Finding himself pursued and attacked by police, Kong climbed the Empire State Building to escape. The military sent a fleet of biplanes armed with machine guns to stop Kong and save Ann. Atop the Empire State Building, Kong swatted down and destroyed several of the planes, but was mortally wounded by machine-gun fire. Kong set Ann down gently and fell off the building, plummeting to the streets below. As crowds gathered around Kong's dead body, a bystander remarked that the airplanes finally got Kong, to which Denham replied that "It was beauty killed the beast."
- Main article: Kiko.
Only a matter of months after King Kong's rampage and subsequent death in New York, Carl Denham returned to Skull Island with another crew, where he encountered Kong's albino son, Kiko. Kiko protected Denham and Hilda, a stowaway on the Venture, from various creatures on Skull Island, before drowning when an earthquake destroyed Skull Island.
In 1962, RKO licensed the character of King Kong to Toho, who produced a crossover film featuring King Kong and Godzilla. Toho considered producing another King Kong film in 1966, Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah, but replaced Kong with Godzilla and produced Ebirah, Horror of the Deep. Toho then co-produced another King Kong movie, King Kong Escapes, with Rankin/Bass Productions the very next year. Toho's rights to King Kong expired shortly afterward, but they still used the character in their TV series Go! Greenman in 1974, under the name "Gorilla."
- Main article: King Kong/1962.
King Kong was discovered by an expedition to Faro Island, which was sent there by Mr. Tako, a marketing executive for Pacific Pharmaceuticals, in order to find a legendary monster worshiped by the natives. The expedition only heard Kong's roar from the mountains, but saw the beast himself when he battled a Giant Octopus that attacked a village on the island. After chasing the octopus off, Kong began to drink jugs of the Farolacton berry juice that the natives had prepared, and fell asleep. The expedition members had Kong tied to a raft and taken back to Japan to be used as publicity for the company, but their boat was stopped by the Japanese Coast Guard, who informed Tako that he would be liable for any damage caused by King Kong in Japan. Suddenly, Kong began to stir and try to break free of the raft. The crew members opened fire on the dynamite attached to the raft, causing it to explode. Kong emerged from the water unharmed and swam to the Japanese mainland. Kong rampaged along the coastline until he encountered Godzilla in the wilderness. Kong tossed a boulder at Godzilla, who responded with a blast of his thermonuclear breath, which singed Kong's fur and set much of the forest ablaze. Kong scratched his head and walked away in defeat.
Later, Kong arrived in Tokyo and easily passed the electrical barrier that had been used to repel Godzilla earlier, actually drawing strength from the electrical currents. Kong smashed several buildings in his path and grabbed a train, and while looking inside was smitten with Fumiko Sakurai. Kong grabbed Fumiko and dropped the train, then climbed to the top of the National Diet Building. The JSDF surrounded the building and loaded rockets with the Farolacton berry juice while playing a recording of the Faro Islanders' chant, hoping to lull Kong back to sleep. After a few minutes, Kong fell unconscious and slid off the building, allowing the JSDF to rescue Fumiko. The JSDF then formed a desperate plan: bring Kong to Mount Fuji so he can fight Godzilla and the two monsters will destroy each other. Kong was tied to several large balloons with indestructible metal wire and carried to Mt. Fuji. Kong was dropped onto Godzilla, and the two titans resumed their battle. Godzilla again claimed the upper hand, eventually battering Kong into unconsciousness and razing him with his atomic breath. Luckily for Kong, a lightning storm passed overhead and Kong was struck by lightning, re-energizing him and surging an electrical current through his body. Kong grabbed Godzilla's tail, electrocuting him with his touch, and the battle raged on, this time with both combatants on equal footing. The monsters fought across the Fuji wilderness until they reached Atami Castle, which they destroyed before tackling each other into the ocean below, causing an earthquake. After the tremors settled, Kong emerged from Sagami Bay, with Godzilla nowhere in sight, and began to swim back to his home on Faro Island.
- Main article: King Kong/1967.
King Kong was discovered on Mondo Island by a United Nations scientific expedition, led by Commander Carl Nelson. When Lieutenant Susan Watson, a member of the expedition, was attacked by Gorosaurus, Kong saved her and defeated Gorosaurus. Later, when the crew tried to leave Mondo in their Hover Car, they were attacked by a Giant Sea Serpent. Kong swam out to sea and fought off the snake, allowing the sub to escape safely. New of Kong's discovery alerted the evil Dr. Who, who kidnapped Kong and placed him under mind control, forcing him to mine a radioactive element called Element X so that Who could sell it to the mysterious Madame Piranha. Kong managed to break free of the mind control and escape Who's base. Enraged, Who sent his robot version of Kong, Mechani-Kong, to Tokyo to recapture Kong. Mechani-Kong kidnapped Susan and climbed the Tokyo Tower, and Kong pursued them. Kong rescued Susan and battled Mechani-Kong. Mechani-Kong eventually fell from the tower and onto the street, destroying it. Kong then attacked Dr. Who's ship in Tokyo Bay and destroyed it, killing Who and ending his evil plans. Kong then returned to Mondo Island to live in peace.
King Kong, now called Gorilla (ゴリラ due to the rights of the character for use by Toho being lost, also appears in episode 38 of the series Go! Greenman titled Gorira)Greenman vs. Gorilla. In the episode, Gorilla was a creation of Tonchiki, created for the sole purpose of retrieving the blood of children for Maoh to escape the Underground Cave. After being teleported to the surface world and attempting to kidnap a young boy, Greenman was signaled to Earth by the child, where he did battle with the monster. As Greenman and Gorilla fought, Tonchiki drew a ring around them, turning the fight into a sumo match. Eventually, Tonchiki cast a spell on Gorilla, causing him to grow to giant size. Luckily, Greenman also grew and Gorilla was eventually defeated. The King Kong suit used is from 1967's King Kong Escapes. In the series, he was the thirty-ninth monster to battle Greenman.
In 1966, Rankin-Bass acquired the rights to King Kong and co-produced an anime series with Toei Animation called The King Kong Show. This series featured Kong befriending a human family and protecting them from various monsters and villains. The success of the series led Rankin-Bass to approach Toho, who produced King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962 and offer to co-produce a new King Kong movie with them. The resulting film, King Kong Escapes, borrowed several elements from The King Kong Show, including the monster Mechani-Kong, Kong's island home Mondo Island, and the recurring human villain Dr. Who.
Paramount / De Laurentiis Films
- Main article: King Kong/De Laurentiis.
In the early 1970s, Universal Pictures, who owned King Kong's copyright in the United States, planned to produce a remake of the 1933 film entitled The Legend of King Kong. However, Dino De Laurentiis and Paramount Pictures purchased the film rights to King Kong from RKO and produced a remake instead. Paramount's 1976 remake was a modest success, and ten years later De Laurentiis Entertainment Group produced a sequel entitled King Kong Lives, which received very negative reviews.
King Kong was discovered on a mysterious fog-blanketed island in the Indian Ocean by an expedition from the Petrox Oil Company. The head of the expedition, Fred Wilson, believed that the previously-uncharted island contained valuable oil reserves, but instead, the expedition found that the island was inhabited by a tribe of natives who lived in a village protected by a giant wall, which separated them from a fearsome god they called "Kong." The natives kidnapped Dwan, a castaway that had been picked up by the expedition team's ship, and attempted to sacrifice her to Kong. Kong emerged from the jungle and grabbed Dwan, then immediately carried her back off to the jungle. Kong took Dwan to a waterfall and washed her underneath it, then blew on her to dry her. Dwan was surprised at how gentle Kong actually was, and began to no longer fear him. Meanwhile, Jack Prescott, a primate paleontologist who had stowed away onto the expedition's ship earlier, joined with several members of the crew to look for Kong. En route, they reached a giant fallen log that acted as a bridge over a deep chasm. Kong spotted the men as they crossed the log bridge and grabbed the bridge, twisting it until all of the men except Prescott and another named Boan fell to their deaths. Prescott decided to continue pursuing Kong on his own and headed deeper into the jungle. Kong took Dwan to his lair and prepared to undress her, but found himself attacked by a gigantic boa constrictor. Kong set Dwan down and battled the snake, just as Prescott caught up and found Dwan. The two escaped and headed back to the village, while Kong tore the giant boa's jaws apart and killed it. Kong followed Dwan and Prescott back to the village and broke through the wall. However, Wilson and the crew had sprung a trap, which Kong fell into. Kong was then smothered with chloroform and knocked unconscious. With no oil to bring back to New York after the oil deposits on the island were found to be worthless, Wilson decided to bring Kong back instead and use him as a publicity stunt. Kong was loaded into the cargo bay of the ship and fed with tons and tons of fruit. When Kong began to go berserk and smash against the wall of the cargo bay, Dwan fell into it, only for Kong to catch her. Dwan's presence calmed Kong, and he set her down then fell asleep for the remainder of the voyage.
When the expedition returned to New York, Wilson arranged a grand exposition for Kong to promote his company. He imprisoned Kong in a giant metal cage and placed a giant crown on his head. When Kong was mobbed by hordes of media reporters taking pictures, he became enraged and tore through the metal bars restraining him. Wilson tried to run away but was stepped on and killed by Kong. Kong rampaged through the city, destroying cars, stomping on fleeing citizens, and even destroying a train. Prescott and Dwan escaped over the Queensboro Bridge, expecting that Kong would not be able to swim across the East River. However, Kong merely waded across the river in pursuit of Dwan. Kong found Dwan in an abandoned bar and carried her off. Kong noticed the World Trade Center in the distance, and it reminded him of his lair back on his island. Kong climbed the South Tower with Dwan, while the military pursued him. When Kong reached the top of the tower, he was attacked by a group of soldiers wielding flamethrowers. Kong jumped across the two towers and landed on the North Tower. Out of options, the military sent helicopters armed with machine guns to take Kong down. Kong set Dwan down and swatted at the helicopters, but was mercilessly blasted by machine-gun bullets, causing him to bleed profusely. After destroying two choppers, Kong succumbed to his injuries and fell from the tower, plummeting onto the World Trade Center plaza. As crowds of reporters and spectators gathered around Kong, Dwan approached him and looked at him tearfully just as his heart stopped beating.
After being shot off of the World Trade Center in 1976, King Kong was not actually killed, but placed into a coma. Kong was taken to the Atlantic Institute and kept alive but comatose for a decade. Dr, Amy Franklin, the surgeon in charge of Kong, found a way to fully revive Kong by giving him an artificial heart. However, Kong had lost so much blood that he required a blood transfusion for the procedure to work. Thankfully, a female member of Kong's species dubbed "Lady Kong" was discovered in Borneo by Hank Mitchell and brought back to the Atlantic Institute to provide blood for Kong. The transplant was a success, and Kong was revived. However, Kong and Lady Kong mated while in captivity at the Institute and escaped together. The United States army relentlessly pursued both apes and tracked them down in the wilderness. Kong fell from a cliff and presumably died in the resulting battle, and Lady Kong was captured and taken to a military base. At the base, it was discovered that Lady Kong was pregnant with Kong's child. Meanwhile, Kong survived the fall and rampaged through the countryside in search of Lady Kong, although his artificial heart was slowly failing. As Lady Kong went into labor, King Kong arrived near the military base and was attacked by the military. Kong was gruesomely wounded in the battle, but managed to destroy the military's forces and kill the insane army colonel who tried to kill him and his mate. Kong entered the base and collapsed in front of Lady Kong, who had just given birth to their son, Baby Kong. Gravely injured and with his heart about to shut down, Kong smiled as he looked at his newborn child before finally dying. Following Kong's death, Lady Kong and Baby Kong were transported back to Borneo to live in peace together.
While Universal decided to postpone production on their King Kong film in the late 1990s, BKN International produced an animated series starring Kong to capitalize on the success of TriStar Pictures's Godzilla: The Series in 2000. Kong: The Animated Series was moderately successful, featuring 40 episodes and two spin-off direct-to-DVD films released after its cancellation. The series features a clone of the original King Kong, made from his DNA after he fell to his death from the Empire State Building in 1933. In the present day, Kong resides on Kong Island, where he is cared for by the scientist who cloned him, Dr. Lorna Jenkins. When a mad scientist, Professor Ramone De La Porta, attempts to use the magical Primal Stones located on the island to unleash the demon Chiros, Kong must join forces with Dr. Jenkins' grandson Jason, his friend Eric, and the native girl Lua to reclaim the Primal Stones and battle Chiros' forces.
- Main article: King Kong/2005.
In 1976, a federal judge ruled that the character and film rights to King Kong (aside from the 1933 film, which belonged to RKO, and the 1976 film and its sequel, which belonged to De Laurentiis and Paramount) belonged to Merian C. Cooper's estate, and the majority of the rights to King Kong reverted to Cooper's son, Richard. Cooper almost immediately sold all of his rights to Universal Pictures, who retains them to this day. Universal considered producing their own remake of the 1933 film in the late 1990s, but the releases of a remake of Mighty Joe Young and GODZILLA in 1998 caused them to postpone it. Universal finally produced a remake in 2005, which was financially and critically successful. In 2014, Universal entered a legal partnership with Legendary Pictures, and the two companies began work on a new film, Kong: Skull Island, set for a 2017 release. In 2015, Legendary moved the production from Universal to its previous partner, Warner Bros.
King Kong, possibly the last living member of a species of gigantic ape called Megaprimatus kong, was living on Skull Island in 1933, when a film crew led by Carl Denham arrived on a ship called the Venture to shoot a film. The natives of the island did not take kindly to the film crew's presence and attacked them when they set foot on the island, killing two members of the expedition. The crew returned to the Venture and remained on board, debating whether or not to return to the island and continue shooting. At night, the natives pole-vaulted to get onto the Venture and kidnapped Ann Darrow, the leading lady. They brought her back to their village on the island and attempted to sacrifice her to their god, Kong. Kong soon emerged from the jungle and grabbed the terrified Ann, then took her away into the jungle. The film crew ran onto the island to rescue Ann and followed Kong into the jungle. Kong took Ann to his lair, where she saw the remains of several of Kong's previous sacrifices along the way. Ann tried to get free, but to no avail. Ann tried to distract Kong by dancing, which caused Kong to laugh. When Ann became tired and refused to perform anymore, Kong stormed off angrily. Kong then encountered the search party crossing a log bridge spanning a ravine. Kong grabbed the bridge and twisted it, sending the party falling into the chasm below, where most of them were killed by gigantic insects. Jack Driscoll managed to escape from the pit and climb to the other side of the ravine, then continued pursuing Kong.
While Kong was gone, Ann tried to run away but found herself being pursued by a Foetodon, a giant crocodilian-like reptile. Ann ran from it, only to witness the Foetodon being eaten by a Vastatosaurus Rex, the modern descendant of the tyrannosaurus. The V-Rex then chased Ann and was joined by another member of its kind. Kong arrived just in time and tried to fight the V-Rexes off. A third V-Rex entered the battle and the odds were turned against Kong. Kong killed one of the V-Rexes, but the other two continued relentlessly attacking him and Ann. Eventually, Kong and the two remaining V-Rexes fell over a cliff and into a thick layer of vines. Kong grappled with the V-Rexes, causing one to become entangled and trapped in the vines. Ann and one of the V-Rexes fell from the vines to the ground while Kong finished off the other one. Kong fought with the V-Rex once again, and this time gained the upper hand. Kong restrained the V-Rex and pried its jaws apart until they snapped, killing it. Ann, grateful for Kong saving her life, allowed herself to be taken by Kong back to his mountain lair. Kong set Ann down in his lair and sat on a ledge overlooking the sunset. Ann approached Kong and tried to communicate with him using sign language. Jack arrived in Kong's lair and found Ann. Kong then awoke from his slumber and angrily attacked Jack. Suddenly, they were attacked by a swarm of Terapusmordax, giant bats. As Kong fought the bats off, Jack and Ann began rappelling down a vine to escape but Kong noticed and tried to grab them. Jack then grabbed hold of an attacking Teraspumordax with Ann clinging to him as the bat lowered them down and they fell into the water below. Enraged, Kong stormed off from his lair and gave chase. Jack and Ann retreated to the village, where Carl and the remaining members of the expedition were waiting. Kong arrived and broke down the wall. The crew used chloroform bombs to subdue Kong, knocking him unconscious on the shore. Denham decided to bring Kong back to New York and display him as "The Eighth Wonder of the World."
Kong was taken back to New York onboard the Venture, and was placed in chrome steel chains and put on display inside a Broadway theater. As the crowds were stunned by Kong and photographers aggressively took pictures of him, Kong became agitated. He broke free from his chains and grabbed the actress pretending to be Ann. Realizing she was a fake, he tossed her aside and tore through the theater, eventually emerging out into the streets of New York. Kong overturned cars and smashed lampposts in rage, searching for Ann. Witnessing the destruction Kong was causing because of her, Ann walked into the open near Kong and allowed him to pick her up again. Kong calmed down and took Ann to Central Park, where he slid on a frozen lake. As Kong began to regain his footing, he was thrown forward when a tank shell blasted the ice. With the military pursuing him, Kong fled to the Empire State Building and climbed it. After reaching the top of the building, Kong sat and looked out over the sunrise. He looked at Ann and made the sign for "beautiful," showing that he understood and remembered the sign she showed him earlier. The peace was interrupted when a group of biplanes armed with machine guns flew near the building and opened fire on Kong. Kong set Ann down and roared defiantly at the planes. He swatted at them and managed to destroy some of them. Unfortunately for Kong, the gunfire was too much and he began to succumb to his wounds. Kong slumped over the top of the tower and looked at Ann sorrowfully, then slid off of the building and plummeted to his death in the streets below. As crowds gathered around Kong's colossal corpse, someone remarked that the airplanes got Kong. Carl Denham sorrowfully said that it wasn't the airplanes, as "It was beauty killed the beast."
In 2016, 41 Entertainment and Arad Animation co-produced a Netflix-exclusive animated series starring King Kong. The series revolves around Kong battling a mad scientist's army of robotic dinosaurs in the year 2050.
The infant Kong, who, at the time of his discovery, was thought to be the last great ape alive in the wild, was taken from his home by poachers and was able to use his abnormal strength to escape their helicopter and find his way into the California Redwood forests where he was discovered by Lukas Remy, who treated Kong like a brother. The two were later framed for terrorism by Lucas' brother Richard Remy who pursued them throughout the show until they are all forced down a volcano into a more traditional Kong setting full of dinosaurs and large insects in the season finale.
King Kong was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone along with other notorious villains of the LEGO multiverse. He was one of the villains freed by the Joker as part of his plan to exact revenge on Batman and destroy Gotham City. Kong was defeated when Robin crashed the Batmobile into his face, knocking him unconscious into the water.
- Main article: King Kong/Legendary.
In 2014, Legendary Pictures entered a distribution partnership with Universal. One of the films they announced as part of this partnership was Skull Island, a King Kong origin story, set for release on November 4, 2016. It was later retitled Kong: Skull Island and pushed back to March 10, 2017. Legendary ultimately moved the production to its previous partner, Warner Bros., to enable a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Legendary announced Godzilla vs. Kong for a 2021 release, a year after the sequel to Legendary's Godzilla.
After crash-landing on Skull Island in 1944, American fighter pilot Hank Marlow and Japanese pilot Gunpei Ikari engaged in a fight to the death. After Ikari gained the upper hand and prepared to fatally stab Marlow with a dagger, Kong appeared over a cliff, leading the two shocked men to end their struggle.
In 1973, the scientific organization Monarch organized an expedition to Skull Island, escorted by the Sky Devils helicopter squadron led by Lt. Colonel Preston Packard. One of the helicopters carrying the expedition members cleared the storm cell surrounding the island and began flying over land, they immediately began dropping seismic charges onto the ground below, allegedly to map the island. The explosions drew out Kong, who responded by throwing a tree through one of the choppers. The remaining choppers formed a perimeter around Kong and opened fire on him. The bullets did little more than irritate Kong, who proceeded to rip the helicopters out of the sky and smash them. After downing all of the choppers, Kong wandered back off into the jungle. Kong eventually reached a river, where he noticed the wounds he had sustained from the choppers' rotor blades. Kong winced in pain briefly before beginning to drink from the lake. Suddenly, Kong realized that a Mire Squid was in the water and grabbed one of the creature's tentacles. The Mire Squid then attacked Kong with all of its tentacles, trying to strangle him to death. Kong was able to crush the creature's head under his foot and kill it, then proceeded to eat several of its tentacles. Kong then grabbed the squid's carcass and dragged it away, presumably back to his lair.
After meeting Marlow, some of the surviving expedition members were brought back to the village of the island's indigenous tribe, the Iwis. There, Marlow explained that Kong was perceived as a god by the islanders, and generally acted as a guardian on the island that kept the most dangerous creatures there under control. He stated that Kong attacked the helicopters because the seismic charges they dropped had drawn creatures he called Skullcrawlers to the surface. According to Marlow, Skullcrawlers were the most vicious and dangerous animals on the island and were responsible for killing Kong's family. At this time, Kong was being attacked by two Skullcrawlers but was able to easily dispatch the two smaller creatures. One of the expedition members, Mason Weaver, found a Sker Buffalo pinned underneath a downed helicopter and tried to free it, only for Kong to arrive and free the buffalo himself. Kong gave Weaver an indifferent glance and simply wandered off.
After surviving an encounter with a Skull Crawler and several Leafwings, Weaver and James Conrad stood atop a cliff and looked out over the island, only to witness Kong approach them. To their surprise, Kong did not seem violent or aggressive at all and even allowed Weaver to place her hand on his face. Suddenly, explosions appeared over the distance, and Kong immediately raced toward them. Weaver and Conrad knew that Packard and his men were setting a trap for Kong, intending to kill him. The two of them, joined by Marlow, rushed to the scene to try and save Kong. When Kong arrived at the scene of the explosions, he saw Packard and his men in the distance. As Kong crossed a lake to reach them, Packard ignited the napalm he had dumped into the water, causing the entire lake to erupt into flames. Kong swung his arm angrily at the water, causing the flaming napalm to hit some of the soldiers, before collapsing onto the ground. Packard placed leftover seismic charges around Kong, preparing to finish him, but Weaver, Conrad, and Marlow arrived and aimed their guns at him, demanding for him to stop. Packard refused and was prepared to detonate the charges and blow them all sky-high when suddenly a gigantic Skullcrawler, known as the Skull Devil, erupted from the lake. Everyone except Packard fled, while Kong regained consciousness and promptly smashed Packard under his fist. The Skull Devil attacked Kong, and the humans were forced to leave the giant ape to his fate.
The following morning, as the surviving expedition members neared the extraction point on the north side of the island, they were confronted by the giant Skullcrawler. Fortunately, Kong arrived and smashed the monster in the face with a boulder. Kong engaged in battle with the Skull Devil, buying time for the humans to get to safety. The weakened Kong simply was not a match for the Skull Devil and was knocked into an old shipwreck and entangled in its anchor chain. Weaver had managed to reach a vantage point and fired a flare into the Skull Devil's eye, enraging it. Kong finally broke free of the chain and managed to create a makeshift flail when it became entangled with the ship's propeller. Kong swung the flail at the Skull Devil, embedding the propeller into its back. Kong pulled the propeller out and slammed the Skull Devil into the same hill Weaver was standing on, causing her to fall into the water below. He then sliced the creature across its throat, seemingly killing it. Kong then pulled Weaver out of the water and took a second to stare at her in his hand, only for the Skull Devil to get back up and clamp its jaws onto his arm. Kong battled the Skullcrawler again, trying to keep Weaver away from its mouth, but the beast used its prehensile tongue to pull Kong's hand, with Weaver held in it, down its throat. Mustering all his strength, Kong pulled his hand free of the Skull Devil's gullet, ripping out the beast's innards and killing it instantly. Kong gently set Weaver down on the ground, while Conrad immediately ran to her to ensure she was okay. As Weaver regained consciousness and embraced Conrad, Kong looked back at the two of them before walking away. Once the survivors were finally rescued from the island, Kong stood triumphantly in his domain, beating his chest and letting out a mighty roar.
After King Ghidorah issued a call that awakened the majority of the planet's dormant Titans and summoned them to his aid, Kong did not respond and remained on Skull Island. Once Godzilla defeated Ghidorah and reclaimed his title as King of the Monsters, the newly awakened Titans began migrating to Skull Island, which had become unstable due to recent seismic activity.
King Kong will face off against Godzilla in a battle to determine who will reign supreme.
James Halliday, the creator of a popular virtual reality game called the OASIS, devised a series of challenges called Anorak's Quest to determine his successor after his death. In the first challenge, players raced through the streets of a simulated New York City, evading various obstacles. King Kong was the final hazard, leaping off the Empire State Building to attack the racers. Just before the finish line, Kong would crash through the racetrack itself and lurk out of sight, swatting any player who tried to drive over him. It is possible that Halliday programmed Kong to be impassible; the solution that Wade Watts discovered was to drive in reverse at the start of the race, revealing a hidden corridor that ran underneath the racetrack.
In all of his film appearances, King Kong displays immense physical strength. Kong can fight toe-to-toe with various giant creatures, such as dinosaurs and giant snakes, and come out on top. Kong exhibits impressive agility, as he can jump over great distances (such as the 250 meters between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers) and land on his feet. Kong also demonstrates durability when he continued fighting against airplanes (helicopters in the 1976 version) and even destroy some of them after being riddled with bullets. In the 1976 film, Kong survives getting shredded by machine-gun fire and falling from the top of the South Tower of the World Trade Center before falling into a coma. In Kong: Skull Island, Kong is even more resilient and shows complete resistance to any gunfire. Kong even withstands being lit on fire after swimming through a lake filled with napalm, although it weakens him and causes him to pass out.
Kong is also remarkably intelligent. He makes use of environmental objects like trees or rocks when fighting, and even when overwhelmed by more powerful or more numerous opponents he can think on his feet and find a way to win. In the 2005 film, Kong demonstrated the ability to understand and use sign language to Ann.
In both of his Toho incarnations, King Kong is an extremely capable melee combatant, using his large arms, powerful muscles, and mighty fists to strike fear in foes such as Gorosaurus, the Giant Octopus, and even Godzilla himself. In his first incarnation in King Kong vs. Godzilla, the mighty primate cannot be harmed by electrical currents, and instead, feeds on their power in order to revitalize or awaken him from a state of unconsciousness. He can also use those same electrical currents, whether they are man-made or natural, to allow him to release surges of electricity from his hands, a powerful tool against Godzilla. The second incarnation of the Toho Kong who appeared in King Kong Escapes lacked these abilities but instead was immune to the radioactive Element X.
King Kong appears to be particularly resistant to Godzilla's atomic breath. He is hit by it multiple times throughout King Kong vs. Godzilla, and usually suffers little more than having some of his fur singed.
- King Kong (1933)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- The King Kong Show (TV 1966) [episodes 1-26]
- King Kong Escapes (1967)
- Go! Greenman (TV 1974) [episode 38, as "Gorilla"]
- King Kong (1976)
- King Kong Lives (1986)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995) [photograph]
- The Mighty Kong (1998)
- Kong: The Animated Series (TV 2000-2001) [episodes 1-40]
- Kong: King of Atlantis (2005)
- King Kong (2005)
- Kong: Return to the Jungle (2006)
- Cloverfield (2008) [stock footage; still frame]
- Kong: King of the Apes (TV 2016-) [episodes 1-13]
- The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)
- Kong: Skull Island (2017)
- Ready Player One (2018)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) [stock footage; cave painting]
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
- Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
- Skull Island (TV 20??)
- King Kong 2: Furious Megaton Punch (1986) - Nintendo Famicom
- King Kong 2: Revived Legend (1986) - Microsoft MSX2
- Konami Wai Wai World (1988) - Nintendo Famicom
- Mario is Missing! (1992) - MS-DOS [cameo]
- Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005) - Nintendo Game Cube, Nintendo DS, PC, Sony PlayStation 2, Sony PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Xbox 360
- Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World (2005) - Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Kong: King of Atlantis (2005) - Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- King Kong: Skull Island Adventure (2008) - Browser
- MOBA Legends (2016) - Android and iOS
- Super Pixel Heroes (2017) - Android and iOS
- LEGO Dimensions: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) - Sony PlayStation 4, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, Microsoft Xbox 360
- Roblox (2021) - Microsoft Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One
- PUBG Mobile (2021) - Android and iOS
- Magic Domain (2021) - iOS, Google Play, Android
- LifeAfter/Day After Tomorrow (2021) - iOS, Google Play, Android
- World of Warships (2021) - iOS, Google Play, Android
Age: 8 years old
Blood type: O
Height: 250 centimeters
Weight: 1.5 metric tons
King Kong, simply called Kong here, is imprisoned in the game's fifth stage, City Stage. After freeing him, Kong becomes a playable character. His power-up item(s) are bunches of throwable bananas.
King Kong's sprite in King Kong 2: Furious Megaton Punch
King Kong in Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World
King Kong in Kong: King of Atlantis
Books and short stories
- King Kong (1932)
- "After King Kong Fell" (1973)
- Merian C. Cooper's King Kong (2005)
- Kong: King of Skull Island (2005)
- King Kong: The Island of the Skull (2005)
- Kong Reborn (2005)
- Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World (2005)
- The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island (2005)
- Escape from Skull Island (2005)
- Kong's Kingdom (2005)
- Journey to Skull Island (2005)
- Meet Kong and Ann (2005)
- The Search for Kong (2005)
- King Kong (2005)
- King Kong: The Junior Novel (2005)
- Doc Savage: Skull Island (2013)
- King Kong Vs. Tarzan (2016)
- Kong: Skull Island - The Official Movie Novelization (2017)
- King Kong of Skull Island (2018)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization (2019)
- Kong and Me (2021)
- Godzilla vs. Kong: The Official Movie Novelization (2021)
- Godzilla vs. Kong: Sometimes Friends Fight (But They Always Make Up) (2021)
All of the MonsterVerse films received novelizations, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters - The Official Movie Novelization adding a scene in which Kong prepares to defend Skull Island against an onslaught of Skullcrawler provoked by Ghidorah's call. Kong also appeared in two kid-friendly tie-ins to Godzilla vs. Kong. He explores Skull Island with the Iwi girl Jia in Kong and Me and travels the world with Godzilla to demonstrate key tenets of friendship in Godzilla vs. Kong: Sometimes Friends Fight (But They Always Make Up).
- King Kong (1991-1992) [issues #1-6]
- King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World (2005-2006) [issues #1-3]
- Skull Island: The Birth of Kong (2017) [issues #1, 3-4]
- Kong: Gods of Skull Island (2017)
- Kong on the Planet of the Apes (2017-2018)
- Kong of Skull Island 2018 Special (2018)
- Kingdom Kong (2021)
- Main article: King Kong/Gallery.
In the original 1933 film, King Kong's roar was adapted from tiger and lion roars and altered in pitch.
In the 1976 remake, King Kong's roars are primarily derived from stock roars dating back to the 1957 films The Land Unknown and The Deadly Mantis, with additional vocalizations provided by an uncredited Peter Cullen. The stock roars would go on to be used in countless other monster movies, and were even used for Toto in Gamera the Brave 30 years later.
In the 2005 remake, Kong's motion-capture actor Andy Serkis provided vocalizations for Kong that were then lowered in pitch to match those of a real gorilla, and then mixed with various other animal sounds.
Kong's roars in Kong: Skull Island were created by sound designer Al Nelson and adapted from the sounds of lions, gorillas, and monkeys. The use of lion roars was inspired by how sound editor Murray Spivak created Kong's roars in the original film.
- King Kong was Godzilla's first opponent in a color film.
- King Kong was the first American-made monster to fight Godzilla in a movie, the second being Zilla, and the third being the MUTOs.
- King Kong's relatively small size outside of the Toho and MonsterVerse films fits with the scientific understanding of the Square Cube Law, in which large animals have a low surface area, and therefore are less efficient at processes such as gas exchange, placing an upper limit on their size. King Kong's size in the 1933 film is close to the largest size a terrestrial animal can be under the currently understood constraints.
- According to an interview with Ishiro Honda, an early draft for the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters called for "all monsters" to appear. It's possible that Kong was to be among them, but it is unconfirmed.
- Toho had planned to feature Kong in the Heisei series of Godzilla films in a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla titled Godzilla vs. King Kong. According to designer Shinji Nishikawa , the film would have Kong fall in love with a scientist who eventually converts him into a cyborg. Turner Entertainment, by then the copyright owners of the original 1933 film, requested payment from Toho for the rights to use the character, and the film was ultimately scrapped. Toho later considered several projects pitting Godzilla against Kong's mechanical doppelganger, Mechani-Kong, but these films never came to pass either.
- Kong is one of the many kaiju who share "King" in their names. Some examples are King Ghidorah, King Caesar, Red King, Kingsaurus III, Jumbo King, Live King, Grand King, King of Mons and Five King, as well as Godzilla, who is given the title "King of the Monsters."
- In the Toho films, Kong is much taller than the original King Kong, who was said to stand at 50 feet tall in the original 1933 film. Kong is approximately 145 feet tall in King Kong vs. Godzilla, and 60 feet tall in King Kong Escapes.
- Toho's King Kong was the basis for the American/Japanese anime TV Show, The King Kong Show. Toho was not involved in its development, though they later collaborated with the show's makers, Rankin/Bass Productions, to produce the film King Kong Escapes, which adapted several elements from the show.
- The 1962 King Kong suit would later be loaned to Tsuburaya Productions for the second episode of Ultra Q where he was given more pronounced eyebrows, a tail, and more visible ears, to portray the massive monkey, Goro.
- A popular urban legend claims that different endings were shot for the Japanese and American versions of King Kong vs. Godzilla, with Kong winning in the American version and Godzilla emerging triumphant in the original Japanese version. However, this rumor is certifiably false, as both versions end with only Kong emerging from the ocean, and Godzilla nowhere to be seen. Both Toho's 1963 international sales booklet and the company's official English-language site state the Kong was the victor, while producer Tomoyuki Tanaka declared the outcome a draw in his 1984 book Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction. Regardless, there is no version of the film in which Godzilla defeats Kong.
- King Kong's roars from the Toho films have been used for many other kaiju, particularly in the Ultra Series. Gudon, a kaiju from Return of Ultraman and King Caesar are among the best known of these examples. Some of the stock roars used by Kong in the 1976 film were later used for Toto in Gamera the Brave.
- Some of the German releases of the Showa era films changed the names of various unrelated characters to King Kong. For instance, both Jet Jaguar from Godzilla vs. Megalon and Mechagodzilla are called King Kong in the dubs. However, unlike what many people believe, they aren't stated to actually be the real King Kong wearing robot suits or confusion with Mechani-Kong. The name "King Kong" carried great marquee value, and this is likely the reason why the German distributors changed the names around.
- There were two known unlicensed Japanese King Kong films produced in the 1930s, Japanese King Kong and The King Kong That Appeared in Edo. They are notable for being two of the first-ever tokusatsu/kaiju films ever made, predating Godzilla by two decades. Unfortunately, all prints of these films are believed lost and very few records of their existence remain.
- Shunsuke Fujita, the producer of the PlayStation 3 and 4 Godzilla game, stated in an interview that the developers and he "definitely wanted" to include King Kong in the game, but were unable due to licensing issues.
- Kong is killed or seemingly killed at the end of the majority of his live-action film appearances, with the two Toho films and Kong: Skull Island being the only exceptions.
- While Kong is only mentioned in dialogue and shown through stock footage in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, he is included in a piece of concept art featured in The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters depicting the film's final scene as one of the kaiju surrounding Godzilla.
- In the 80th Academy Awards opening, for a brief moment Peter Jackson's King Kong can be seen fighting against TriStar's Godzilla.
This is a list of references for King Kong. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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