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Godzilla vs. Kong Roars at box office with $ 48.5 million

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Moviegoers sent a message to Hollywood over the weekend: were ready to go back to the movies and will buy tickets even though the same movie is instantly available in our living rooms, but we want to leave our dark world for a silly fantasy world.

Godzilla vs Kong, a returning monsters movie in which an atomic-blown lizard fights a computer-generated monkey above an aircraft carrier (before everyone scampers off to Earth’s hollow center), has grossed approximately $ 48.5 million at 3064 North American Cinemas between Wednesday and Sunday. It was the highest turnout (by far) for a movie since the start of the pandemic.

The PG-13 movie wasn’t even an exclusive offer to theaters. Godzilla vs Kong, produced by Legendary Entertainment, was also available on HBO Max, a streaming service that sells monthly subscriptions for $ 15, less than the cost of an adult ticket to major city theaters.

People seem ready to release themselves emotionally, to experience this human connectedness by laughing together, being scared together, and carrying transportation that only cinemas can provide, said Mary Parent, Legendary vice president and manager. of global production, in a telephone interview.

Overseas, Godzilla vs. Kong raised an additional $ 236.9 million, including $ 136 million in China, a market that has recently favored local films over imported films. The film has yet to open in other major markets, such as Japan and Brazil.

Some box office analysts were reluctant to declare a recovery for Hollywood, noting that coronavirus cases have again increased in the United States and parts of Europe have returned to lockdown. David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consulting firm, said the turnout between Friday and Sunday, while a clear and positive indication that cinema has inherent strengths that don’t go away was however half of what it would have been under normal circumstances.

About 93 percent of theaters in the United States have been licensed to open, but government guidelines limit capacity to 50 percent and, in some major cities, 25 percent. The majority of cinemas in Canada remain closed.

But Warner Bros., which distributed Godzilla vs. Kong, was too busy popping champagne on Sunday to dwell on the buzz-killing warnings. THE GREAT FILMS ARE BACK WITH OUR OPENING KAIJU! the studio said in a press release about the weekend’s earnings, using the Japanese term for overgrown movie monsters.

The Computer-Generated Mix of Titans, directed by Adam Wingard and costing around $ 155 million to make, has received good reviews. AO Scott, evaluating it for the New York Times, described it as an escape adventure made with lavish grandiosity and zero pretension. Ticket buyers gave the film an A rating in CinemaScore’s exit polls, over Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019 or Kong: Skull Island in 2017.

As Hollywood adapts to the streaming age by making new movies more quickly available for home viewing to the dismay of movie theater owners, quality matters more than ever, as does size and reach. : what’s worth a trip to the movies (with face masks for the foreseeable future)) and what’s not?

Non-franchise films without spectacular visual effects can struggle, box office analysts say, pointing to the disappointing arrival of Raya and the Last Dragon last month. Godzilla and King Kong, on the other hand, are cinematic comfort food: proven absurd pleasure and larger than life. A large percentage of weekend ticket sales for Godzilla vs Kong came from large-format theaters that charge a premium for tickets. Imax, for example, said about 1,000 of its North American screenings were sales.

Audiences demonstrate that pent-up demand to experience making blockbuster movies on a large scale, David King, an Imax distribution manager, said in an email.

This was certainly the case with Iveth Vacao, who brought his 8-year-old son Jayden to an Imax matinee of Godzilla vs. Kong at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

We don’t usually come to the movies, but wanted to experience something, Vacao said before the lights went out. Covid made us appreciate this sort of thing more. Of course, you can get the same movie at home, but not the same experience.

Jayden didn’t care to bet which creature would emerge victorious. (Can they both?) But he was sure of one thing.

When the next Venom comes out, it’s definitely coming back, he said, referring to Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which Sony is slated to fall. I want to see it on the bigger screen.

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