“Godzilla vs. Kong” muscled its way to a pandemic-era box office record, giving hope to theater owners that people are ready to return to the movies after a year of watching Netflix at home.

The tentpole, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, generated $32 million over the weekend and $48.5 million in its first five days of release. That’s easily the biggest opening weekend since coronavirus hit. Prior to this weekend, “Wonder Woman 1984” had the biggest three-day debut with $16.7 million, followed by “Tom and Jerry” with $14 million.

The results for “Godzilla vs. Kong” are especially impressive because the film is also available to HBO Max subscribers for no extra fee. It’s unclear how many people have streamed the movie.

David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, called opening weekend ticket sales “strong” given the “still-difficult conditions.” More than 50% of movie theaters in the country have reopened, but many — including those in New York City and Los Angeles — have been operating at reduced capacity to comply with pandemic safety protocols.

“While it’s half of what it would be under normal circumstances, the weekend is a clear and positive indication that moviegoing has inherent strengths that aren’t going away,” he said.

Though ticket sales for “Godzilla vs. Kong” are certainly encouraging, the U.S. box office is still a long way off from full recovery.

More to come…



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