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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Doubles Expectations with Almost $50 Million on Opening Weekend

Warner Bros. did a big favor for the upcoming "F9" and "Black Widow": Even with home alternatives, theaters are back in the game.

Godzilla vs. Kong

“Godzilla vs. Kong”


Movie theaters are a tiny part of the economy. In 2019, their entire, worldwide revenue — tickets sold, concessions, screen ads, rentals — grossed about the same as all McDonald’s in the U.S. Despite that smaller footprint, they symbolize a vital film industry — which is why a “Godzilla vs. Kong” performance that doubled expectations represents a sense of optimism that’s worth a lot more than $50 million.

The official total of $48.5 million for five days (don’t be surprised if it gets closer to $50 million when Sunday’s numbers are verified) represents $32.2 million for the three-day weekend. By midweek, it should outgross the totals for “Tenet” ($58 million) and “The Croods: A New Age” ($56 million).

This comes with day-and-date play for HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. and Premium VOD in Canada, where most theaters are closed. (It earned another $3 million there.) In the U.S., many theaters remain closed including nearly all Regal locations, Pacific/Arclight, and other regional circuits. Seating restrictions affect most theaters, IMAX auditoriums in particular, and many moviegoers still aren’t keen to visit theaters. As a theatrical exclusive without those restrictions, it might have earned $100 million across five days. That would top previous three-day openings for a MonsterVerse film ($93 million for “Godzilla” and “Godzilla King of the Monsters” at $48 million).



Universal Pictures/screenshot

With minimal competition, and as a film that begs for theatrical presentation, the opportunities for “Godzilla vs. Kong” were tremendous this weekend. Warner Bros. timed this perfectly and did a big favor for the upcoming “F9” (June 25) and “Black Widow” (July 9). Every data point has the power to change perception. Another lesson is heightened presentation can provide a major draw. Even with extreme home alternatives like HBO Max, theaters are back in the game.

Other holdovers dropped between 44 percent to 69 percent and the top 10 films will total around $44 million for the best weekend performance in over a year. The other nine titles brought in about $12 million. Sony and Universal currently dispute the #2 slot: Sony is claiming $3.2 million for “The Unholy,” their new low-budget horror release. That’s higher than industry estimates, which place it closer or behind “Nobody” estimated at $3,070,000. Universal’s thriller dropped 55 percent, which is disappointing for a title with an A- Cinemascore. It suggests that with the smaller pool of moviegoers, there may not be room for multiple titles to thrive.

Taking advantage of the Easter weekend, the faith-based “The Girl Who Believes in Miracles” with Mira Sorvino and Kevin Sorbo placed sixth in 640 theaters for a per-theater average below $1,000. In theaters, Oscar-nominated films remain close to irrelevant with all having home availability. “Minari” claims the highest, with $109,000 in 562 theaters.

“French Exit”

Tobias Datum/SPC

“French Exit,” which had a brief qualifying run to push Michelle Pfeiffer’s Best Actress hopes, grossed $193,428 in 483 theaters. That’s a PTA of $400, and without a PVOD or streaming option.

The Top Ten

1. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 60; Est. budget: $175 million; also streaming on HBO Max (Premium VOD in Canada)

$32,200,000 in 3,064 theaters; PTA: $10,589; Cumulative: $48,500,000

2. The Unholy (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 36; Est. budget: $(unreported)

$3,200,000 in 1,850 theaters; PTA: $1,730; Cumulative: $3,200,000

3. Nobody (Universal) – Week 2; Last weekend: #1

$3,070,000 (-55%) in 2,567 theaters (+107); PTA: $788; Cumulative: $11,874,000

4. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney) – Week 5; Last weekend: #2; also available on Premium VOD

$2,054,000 (-45%) in 2,031 theaters (-181); PTA: $1,011; Cumulative: $32,187,000

5. Tom & Jerry (Warner Bros.) – Week 6; Last weekend: #3

$1,400,000 (-44%) in 2,273 theaters (-191); PTA: $616; Cumulative: $39,500,000

6. The Girl Who Believes in Miracles (Atlas) – NEW

$(est.) 540,000 in 640 theaters; PTA: $844; Cumulative: $(est.) 540,000

7. The Courier (Roadside Attractions) – Week 3; Last weekend: #5

$452,000 (-57%) in 1,322 theaters (-119); PTA: $342; Cumulative: $4,258,000

8. Chaos Walking (Lionsgate) – Week 5 ; Last weekend: #5; also available on Premium VOD

$380,000 (-69%) in 1,605 theaters (-431); PTA: $237; Cumulative: $12,231,000

9. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) – Week 19; Last weekend: #6; also available on VOD

$210,000 (-62%) in 1,212 theaters (-107); PTA: $173; Cumulative: $56,345,000

10. The Marksman (Open Road) – Week 12; Last weekend: #7

$165,000 (-54%) in 461 theaters (-390); PTA: $358; Cumulative: $15,035,000


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