“Godzilla vs. Kong” shook expectations in both theaters and the HBO Max streaming service, giving the hard-hit film industry hope that audiences will return to theaters.
“I think people really miss going out and having fun,” said Joshua Grode, CEO of film production company Legendary Entertainment, on CNBC’s “The Exchange” on Tuesday. Legendary has partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to produce the epic monster film.
“People can go outside now. They choose what to do to entertain themselves, and the power to go to the cinema was demonstrated by this incredibly fun movie that was released last weekend,” he said .
“Godzilla vs. Kong” opened last Wednesday and gathered mass audiences across the country. That made it the best opening weekend for any movie released in the US since the pandemic. The film totaled $ 32.2 million at the box office Friday through Sunday and had sales of over $ 48.5 million in the United States and Canada. It grossed $ 48.5 million domestically, where approximately 55% of theaters were open, and $ 285 million worldwide.
Notably, this strong box office revenue was achieved even when the film was also released for streaming on HBO Max with no additional fee to its subscribers. According to Deadline, it was the most watched film on the platform since its launch. Both Warner Bros. and HBO Max are units of AT&T.
“I think a lot of the misunderstanding could be that you won’t see it in theaters when you see it on HBO Max, and I don’t think that’s a one-on-one compromise,” said Grode.
Although it didn’t have specific numbers, Grode said the film was the biggest sign-up event HBO Max had since the service started last May.
He expects the trends to repeat themselves with other films in the future.
“You have to find films that come alive, that are made for the cinematic experience,” he said. “Godzilla vs Kong has two huge monsters. This movie was designed to be fun. It’s supposed to get people cheering on Team Kong or Team Godzilla.”