Godzilla vs Kong’s box office dominance continues with another $13.4M this weekend, a holdover of about 42% from last weekend (using the three-day number). Even before COVID-19 hit our coasts, this more relaxed 2nd weekend gross would be standard for a blockbuster of G v K’s scale; this hold was right in line with industry expectations. After just 12 days, G v K already claims the pandemic’s highest box-office total to date with $69.5M. Per Deadline, the film has already turned a profit for Warner Bros. as the global number hit $357.8M yesterday.
The new release from Lionsgate, Voyagers, opened with $1.35M – enough to put it in fifth place behind Nobody, The Unholy, and Raya. The movie attempts to bring the Lord of the Flies plot into space, but fell flat with both critics and audiences. Despite the small scale, it is ultimately a win for theaters to have this steady stream of fresh content versus the empty slate we experienced last year. Movies with bigger fanfare – A Quiet Place II, Cruella, Conjuring 3, Fast & Furious 9 – are almost here.
In the wake of Godzilla vs Kong’s success (and the country’s rising vaccinations), studios are moving up titles to capitalize on this summer’s moviegoing boom. Sony’s Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (formerly Hotel Transylvania 4) moved up from August to July 23. Universal’s The Forever Purge moved up one week from July 9 to July 2 – pushing Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway up to June 18 (the birthday of yours truly, in case you were wondering). Lastly, Paramount’s Snake Eyes will now debut July 23 instead of October 22.
At the same time, distribution bosses want breathing room for their biggest tentpoles. We already saw Warner Bros endeavor to give Godzilla vs Kong an extra week by moving Mortal Kombat away from this Friday. Paramount has once again delayed Top Gun: Maverick to November 19 from the July 2 spot (pushing Mission: Impossible 7 out to 2022). The film was previously sandwiched by Universal’s F9 (June 25) and Disney’s Black Widow (July 9). Top Gun stands to be Paramount’s biggest film this year and they want the biggest opening they can get. Theaters remain closed in key markets for the Tom Cruise sequel: Europe and Brazil. It will take some time for these markets to rebuild momentum, so a late November date fares better for the movie.
Amid Paramount’s shuffles were also a few new title announcements for 2022/23, including an Untitled Ryan Reynolds/John Krasinski Film and an Untitled Star Trek. Hollywood’s engine has not stopped.
While we are on the topic of future films, Netflix and Sony Pictures have signed a new licensing deal giving the streamer exclusivity for the studio’s theatrical titles in 2022. The 18-month deal gives Netflix first dibs to stream major titles (like Morbius and Uncharted) after they play in theaters and are released on home entertainment platforms – likely giving theaters 30-45 days of exclusivity that is rapidly becoming the new normal. In addition, Netflix will have priority for any low-tier films Sony may want to put on direct-to-streaming (as they previously did with Kevin Hart’s Fatherhood). The pact couldn’t come sooner for Netflix – after losing key inventory like Marvel & Pixar films, Friends, and The Office – and is a big win for Sony, the only major studio without a subscription service of its own.
Last but not least, Director Chloé Zhao won the top DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award for Nomadland – not only becoming the second woman, and first woman of color, to do so – but also cementing her spot as a frontrunner for Best Director at the Oscars. Nomadland also dominated BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) – taking Best Film, Director, Actress, and Cinematography. Zhao’s next film, Eternals (a key for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) promises to be a theatrical blockbuster. The film had previously made headlines with the promise of Marvel’s first openly gay superhero(es) on the big screen. If the film’s robust cast (Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Ma Dong-seok, Gemma Chan, Brian Tyree Henry) does not sell Eternals, then perhaps a trailer sporting “Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao” will.
With no new wide-releases this weekend, expect Godzilla vs Kong to continue its reign in theaters until Mortal Kombat debuts next Friday, April 23 in theaters (and HBO Max).