King Kong rampages into theaters Friday, smashing helicopters, uninvited humans, and monsters alike in order to maintain his homeland reign in Kong: Skull Island, a rollicking B-movie starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, and scene stealer extraordinaire John C. Reilly. Set in 1973, Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s film is awash in shout-outs to Apocalypse Now, which it uses as a way to cast its action as something of a Vietnam War allegory. And at Thursday night’s premiere of the would-be blockbuster in Vietnam, things got fittingly chaotic and fiery.
As reported by the Huffington Post, an enormous statue of the gorilla burst into flames at the Kong: Skull Island gala in Ho Chi Minh City after fire from nearby model volcanoes spread to the enormous beast (although other reports blamed an actor’s mislaid torch). Video of the scene was tweeted by Sky News (watch it above), which reported that no one was injured and that the inferno was extinguished after 15 minutes. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the statue was 16 feet tall.
This isn’t the first time a Kong prop has met a fiery end. For the massive burning-of-Atlanta sequence in 1939’s Gone With the Wind, sets from the original 1933 King Kongwere used as kindling, all in order to make room to build the Civil War-era epic’s sets. This latest conflagration no doubt left quite an impression on the premiere’s many attendees — a number of whom apparently thought at first it was just part of the show.