The pandemic finally met its match at the multiplex.
After an absolutely devastating year for movie theaters, Godzilla vs Kong had the biggest opening weekend since the pandemic began one year ago — by far.
Since opening on Wednesday, the fourth film in Warner Bros. Monsterverse has hauled in $48.5 million dollars. That includes $9.6 on its opening day March 31st (which is better than all but two three-day opening weekends during the pandemic) as well as $32 million over its Friday-to-Sunday Easter debut weekend.
To put those numbers in perspective, the previous pandemic-best opener was Wonder Woman 1984, which took in $16.4 million over Christmas weekend last December. The fact that Godzilla vs Kong doubled that (after already taking in over $15 million two days prior) shows just how far the box office — and the country — has come in three months of COVID vaccinations.
Now, more theaters are open nationwide than at any point in the last 12 months. Godzilla vs Kong went to battle on over 3,000 screens, far more than the end of 2020 when the pandemic was surging at its worst levels in the U.S.
That current screen count includes newly reopened screens in New York and LA, too, the two biggest markets that (until just a few weeks ago) had been completely shut down for the past year.
These numbers are even more impressive when considering that Godzilla vs Kong is also available to stream on HBO Max. Though its subscription base isn’t in the league of Netflix or Disney+, Warners’ at-home option doesn’t appear to be putting a significant dent into the blockbuster’s theatrical draw.
The people most thrilled by these numbers must be theater owners. To see this kind of turnout even as theaters remain at limited seating capacity has to be as much a psychological boost as a financial one. Many multiplexes sold out the available seats they had, even as they had to compete with a major streaming at-home platform. Just imagine how numbers will rebound when things return to normal.
Sure, “normal” may still be a ways off, but the performance of Godzilla vs Kong proves rather vigorously just how viable the moviegoing theatrical experience remains. It’s not going anywhere. Over Easter weekend 2021, it rose from the dead.