As part of Warner Bros’ presentation at CineEurope in Barcelona, industry members were given an extended preview at the upcoming Kong: Skull Island, the reboot of the big ape film that stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and Samuel L. Jackson. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts made a major proclamation about the beast at the center of the film: the new Kong as the largest Kong ever, at 100-feet fall. Which is impressive… until you consider that Kong is slated to fight the bigger and badder Godzilla in Godzilla vs. King Kong in 2020. To give a sense of the size mismatch between the two monsters, here’s a breakdown of King Kong and Godzilla’s height through the ages.

King Kong (1933) - 24 feet

Kong’s height was kind of tricky to pin down from the get-go. Apparently, creator Merian C. Cooper wanted Kong to be 40 to 50-feet tall.. However the animators made the final decision. Kong was eventually scaled and animated to be 18 feet while on Skull Island, and rescaled to 24 feet when taken to New York. The reason for this is unclear, though the advertising material at the time continued to promote Kong at 50-feet.

King Kong (1976)
King Kong (1976)

King Kong (1976) - 55 feet

When Dino De Laurentiis bought the remake rights for King Kong in 1976, the producers decided to increase the size of the monster from his predecessor. Again, Kong’s height shifts depending on whether or not he’s on Skull Island or New York City. In Skull Island, Kong was scaled at 42-feet, while in New York he was depicted at 55-feet.

King Kong Lives (1985) - 60 feet

In the sequel to the 1975 film, Kong grew an extra five feet in height. Good for him.

King Kong (2005)
King Kong (2005)

King Kong (2005) - 25 feet

When Peter Jackson decided to helm a modern remake for Universal, he opted to make Kong less anthropomorphic, and more like a regular silverback gorilla. The result of the move made for the smallest King Kong since the original 1933 film at just 25-feet tall.

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) - 147 feet

In 1962, Japanese film studio Toho Company decided to pit their domestic monster, Godzilla, against America’s King Kong. To make the fight fair, however, they scaled up the relatively small King Kong to his biggest size ever, at 147 feet. This was so King Kong was more-or-less the same size as Godzilla who’s always been taller than 100-feet.

The astounding height difference between the two monsters until King Kong vs. Godzilla highlights a big problem for a 100-foot Kong. When he faces Godzilla in 2020, he will still be from a fifth of the size of the most recent incarnation of Godzilla.

Godzilla (Showa Era)
Godzilla (Showa Era)

Godzilla (Showa Era) - 164 feet

Wheras Kong didn’t reach past 100-feet until he faced Godzilla in Japan, the Tokyo Monster began life as a towering monster. Starting at an astounding 164-feet, Godzilla was always as tall as the skyscrapers, while Kong had to climb over buildings in New York. From these humble beginnings, Godzilla continued to just grow and grow.

advertisement
Godzilla (1988)
Godzilla (1988)

Godzilla (1998) - 197 feet

When the Americans tried their hand at a Godzilla movie back in 1998, they pretty much kept Godzilla the same size as he was in Japan during the same period which was about 197-feet . Though he gained an extra 24-feet in height from the early Showa era, it wasn’t nearly a dramatic a change as when Toho Company got their hands on King Kong for that 1964 film.

Godzilla (Millenium) - 328 feet

Japanese filmmakers continued to make Godzilla films after the 1998 American bomb, and it was during this time that Godzilla hit some serious growth spurts. First he hit about 196-feet, grew past 262-feet, until he reached a colossal 328-feet in height.

Godzilla (2014)
Godzilla (2014)

Godzilla (Legendary) - 355 feet

Not to be outdone, Legendary Pictures decided to grow their new America Godzilla to an unprecedented 355-feet for Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film. Larger than any other Godzilla before it, Legendary’s King of Monsters easily dwarfs the planned 100-foot Kong from Skull Island.

Godzila: Resurgence
Godzila: Resurgence 

Godzilla: Resurgence (2016) - 387 feet

Oddly enough, the 2014 Godzilla was deemed too large for Japanese fans who decried the monster as bulky and “too fat.” Toho Company - the production house that invented the monster and has made all of the Japanese films - is currently developing their own, domestic Godzilla film set for release this year. They’ve upped their Godzilla to a modest 387-feet, and slimmed him down for good measure.

Godzilla vs. King Kong (2020)

By all estimates, Godzilla dwarfs King Kong in pretty much every way. Even if the new film is set to make King Kong the tallest he’s ever been at 100-feet, that’s still almost 200-feet less than the last Godzilla. Now, anyone can tell you that size doesn’t matter, but in the case of two monsters fighting my money will probably be on the 400-foot nuclear lizard.

Photos via Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Toho Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Legendary Pictures

Matthew Kim is a Los Angeles-based writer who dreams of a colder climate. You might have seen his written work on video games and film appear in publications like VICE, Kill Screen, Unwinnable, and more. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.