Godzilla vs. Kong spends much of its nearly two-hour runtime laying waste to the Hong Kong skyline, but it seems the movie has also destroyed a box office record with its theatrical release. The new film — which finds the two titans facing off in brutal fashion before eventually teaming up to take down the out-of-control man-made titan Mechagodzilla (with all the requisite city-smashing bombast) — was, of course, initially set for a fall 2020 release.
As with virtually every other film eyeing a 2020 release, Godzilla vs. Kong’s release was shifted to 2021 due to the theater-closing COVID-19 pandemic.
With vaccinations on the rise and theater chains beginning to re-open nationwide, the “MonsterVerse” marvel has finally found its way to the multiplex. And per CNBC, the film has set a new pandemic box office record by clearing a cool $60 million in its opening weeks.
That number is particularly impressive as Godzilla vs. Kong is one of many Warner Bros. blockbusters releasing day-and-date on the HBO Max streaming platform in 2021.
While many expected that controversial move to severely hamper the box office prospects for potential WB tentpole properties, Godzilla vs. Kong has proven impervious, and it is indeed now boasting box office dominance in the age of the pandemic.
Perhaps even more surprising is that Godzilla vs. Kong is also dominating the streaming realm, with Warner Bros. brass claiming the film had “a larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch” (via The Hartford Informer).
Godzilla vs. Kong has helped Warner Bros. Pictures become king of the pandemic box office
Whether it proves a fluke or serves as evidence that the world is ready to head back to the movie house, Godzilla vs. Kong’s titanic box office showing will surely raise eyebrows in Hollywood circles as studios and exhibitors continue to reimagine how movies make it to market in the current climate.
And given Godzilla vs. Kong’s strong showing both at the box office and on HBO Max, Warner Bros. bosses may be feeling a slight bit of vindication about their hotly contested day-and-date strategy.
Ultimately, Godzilla vs. Kong is another pandemic win for Warner Bros., who can now claim they’ve released four of the top five theatrical money-makers since the world went into lockdown in spring 2020. In fact, the titan-centric epic actually supplanted another WB release to become the pandemic top dog.
That film was Christopher Nolan‘s wildly ambitious yet intensely divisive sci-fi spectacular Tenet, which boldly released in summer 2020 at the height of the worldwide lockdown. And even though Tenet’s $58 million take was considered a massive failure by many, those numbers really are better than respectable given the state of things when it hit theaters.
As noted in that CNBC piece, Tenet still holds the second-place slot in terms of pandemic box office numbers, with Warner Bros. releases Wonder Woman 1984 and Tom and Jerry joining it and Godzilla vs. Kong in the top five with $46 million and $40 million hauls, respectively.