“Godzilla vs. Kong” shattered expectations both in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, offering some hope for the film industry that has been hit hard by audiences returning to theaters.
“I think people really miss going out and having fun,” Joshua Grode, executive director of film production company Legendary Entertainment, said on CNBC’s “The Exchange” on Tuesday. Legendary partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to produce the epic monster movie.
“People can now go out. They are choosing what to do for entertainment and the power of going to the movies has been established through this tremendously fun movie that was released last weekend,” he said.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” opened last Wednesday and drew a massive audience across the country, making it the best opening weekend for any movie released in the United States since the pandemic. The film grossed $ 32.2 million at the box office Friday through Sunday and has now grossed more than $ 48.5 million in sales in the United States and Canada. It raised $ 48.5 million nationally, where about 55% of movie theaters were open, and $ 285 million worldwide.
Notably, these strong box office revenues came even as the film was also released for streaming on HBO Max at no additional charge to its subscribers. It was the most-watched movie on the platform since its release, according to Deadline. Both Warner Bros. and HBO Max are units of AT&T.
“I think a lot of the misconceptions may be that if you see it on HBO Max, you won’t see it in theaters, and I really don’t think it’s a one-for-one trade,” Grode said.
Although it did not have specific numbers, Grode said the film was the largest record event HBO Max has had since the service launched last May.
He hopes the trends can be repeated with other movies in the future.
“You have to find movies that are animated, that are made for the big screen experience,” he said. “‘Godzilla vs Kong’ has two huge monsters. This movie was designed to be fun. It is designed to get people to support Team Kong or Team Godzilla.”