What GODZILLA VS. KONG’s Success Means for the Future of the Box Office

Photo by Charles Deluvio via Unsplash

What GODZILLA VS. KONG’s Success Means for the Future of the Box Office

By Movieguide® Staff

GODZILLA VS. KONG earned record-setting box office numbers for pandemic releases both in North America and overseas. Although this would seem to point to audiences eager to return to theaters, entertainment analysts and insiders claim the monster movie’s success could be an oddity in the 2021 market. 

The movie took the top spot for revenue in the pandemic with a $48.1 million opening. The movie was also released on HBO Max. However, analysts are wary of viewing the day-to-date release strategy as a long-term solution. 

“A year from now, I’d be surprised if anybody would do this. You can’t draw any real conclusions from GODZILLA VS. KONG in regards to HBO Max. These aren’t real conditions,” analyst Eric Wold of B. Riley Securities said.

“I still believe that in order to maximize revenue, you still need an exclusive theatrical window. The window might be shortened but you still need to start with that,” analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners added. “What we got was a victory for theatrical. It’s a nice win in a crappy environment.”

However, the overall success of GODZILLA VS. KONG cannot be denied and is a significant sign the public wants a theatrical release. 

“I think a big movie like this working should tell everyone that if we are rational in how we release the movies, there is an appetite for a shared experience in a theater,” Legendary CEO Joshua Grode said, adding that the decision to release a movie in theaters during the pandemic “wasn’t for the faint of heart.”

Movieguide® previously reported

GODZILLA VS. KONG earned $32 million over the weekend and $48.5 million in its first five days of release. This easily surpassed the $16.7 million of WONDER WOMEN 1984, the previous highest-grossing movie during the pandemic. 

GODZILLA VS. KONG also benefited from the widest theater count with 3,000 open North American theaters.

“While it’s half of what it would be under normal circumstances, the weekend is a clear and positive indication that moviegoing has inherent strengths that aren’t going away,” David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, said.