As vaccines continue to roll out — there have been 115 million shots administered, meaning that 43 percent of the population over the age of 16 has received at least one shot — the pandemic-era box office continues to thaw. Last weekend saw the total box office for the entire weekend cross $50 million for the first time since March 2020, as Godzilla vs. Kong put up an impressive $48.5 million over its first five days.
Despite a precipitous 58-percent fall in its second weekend, Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong still has plenty enough muscle to generate around $13.3 million in its second weekend at around 3,084 theaters. With that, Warner Brothers’ film officially becomes the biggest film of the pandemic, earning around $69.5 million to date. That allows it to surpass Tenet ($58.5 million) Croods: New Age ($56.5 million), Wonder Woman 1984 ($46.2 million), and Tom & Jerry ($40.3 million) as the highest-grossing film of the pandemic, so far. Four of those five films are from Warner Brothers (Croods from Universal/DreamWorks Animation is the outlier).
The 58-percent second-week fall is not atypical. In fact, Godzilla: King of the Monsters experienced a 67-percent fall in its second weekend. What’s most impressive here, however, is that the $69 million earned by Godzilla Vs. Kong after two weekends is only around $8 million less than what Godzilla: King of the Monsters earned in two weekends during the summer in 2019 before the pandemic. Godzilla: King of the Monsters also didn’t have HBO Max airing the film for free to subscribers to cannibalize its box office.
What this means is that moviegoers were really excited about Godzilla vs. Kong itself, or they were really, really excited to return to movie theaters again, and Godzilla vs. Kong gave them the perfect excuse to do so. It’s unlikely that Godzilla vs. Kong will earn the $110 million that King of the Monsters took in domestically, but it might hit $100 million, which is incredibly impressive for a movie released during a pandemic that is also screening on our television sets.
What is just as impressive will be the fact that, by the end of the weekend, Godzilla vs. Kong will have earned nearly $300 million overseas (thanks in large part to China), and around $365 million worldwide, which again makes it the biggest American movie worldwide during the pandemic (surpassing the $305 million of Tenet). It even has a chance to surpass Bad Boys for Life ($428 million) for the biggest Hollywood movie of both 2020 and 2021.
The news wasn’t so great for the weekend’s one wide release, Neil Burger’s Voyagers, which illustrated the limits to which moviegoers would risk their health. The film received dismal reviews (25 percent on RT) and a bad Cinemascore (C), and ultimately could only muster only $1.3 million over the weekend, despite the presence of Colin Farrell and up-and-comers Tye Sheridan and Lily-Rose Depp. That was good for only fifth place. That’s not ideal for a $30 million film, but it can take solace in the fact that it didn’t cost $100 million like Chaos Walking, which opened with only $3.7 million and has only earned $12.5 million, so far.
In second place, Bob Odenkirk’s Nobody continues to do decent business, earning $2.6 million to bring its total to $15 million, the same as its budget. The film will be out digitally next weekend. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s The Unholy scratched off $2.4 million in its second weekend. It’s up to $6.7 million, which is probably not much worse than it might do outside of the pandemic given the dismal reviews. Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon actually jumped 5 percent this weekend, earning $2.1 million and $35.2 million, so far. It’s also available for a $30 premium to Disney+ subscribers.
In spite of the resurgent box office, the studios so far are still reluctant to push up their release dates to take advantage. There are no new wide releases next weekend, so Godzilla vs. Kong will continue its reign. However, April 23rd will see the release of Mortal Kombat and, depending on America’s mood that weekend, we could see another big box office showing (for the pandemic).