Movies & TV / News

411 Box Office Report: Godzilla vs. Kong Dominates With $48.5 Million Five-Day Take

April 4, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Godzilla vs. Kong Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Godzilla vs. Kong brought the box office roaring back, opening with a hefty start by pandemic-era standards. Warner Bros.’ MonsterVerse beat-em-up film opened with a $32.2 million Friday through Sunday gross, the best opening for a film since the last pre-pandemic weekend of March 6th, 2020 when Onward opened to $39.1 million. Add in Thursday and Friday’s numbers and Godzilla vs. Kong had a five-day take of $48.5 million. Those numbers are not far off from the three-day take of $47.8 million that Godzilla: King of the Monsters opened to in May of 2019, and that film didn’t have the mitigating factors of the pandemic and Godzilla vs. Kong’s day-and-date launch on HBO Max.

It’s a stellar start for the action-adventure film, which was carrying a heavy weight on its shoulders in terms of the industry’s hope that it would reignite the box office as theaters continue to reopen. The kaiji and giant ape carried that weight well, delivering a film that is earning good marks from both critics and moviegoers. The film currently has a solid 76% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore (compared to 43% and a B+ for King of the Monsters). That positive buzz and the effects-heavy spectacle helped bring audiences out to see the film. It’s hard to imagine what the film may have done with a fully-reopened box office, through $65 million plus certainly wouldn’t have been out of the question.

Godzilla vs. Kong is performing great overseas as well, with a total international gross of $236.9 million for a worldwide take so far of $285.4. By comparison, Godzilla: King of the Monster’s final worldwide take was $383.3 million, a number that seems quite doable for this film. Domestically it’s still hard to predict what the film might hit, although $120 million is conceivable. Add in whatever ancillary revenue is factored from HBO Max and compare against the $155 million production budget, and this film should end up profitable for Warner Bros.

Coming in at a very distant #2 was Screen Gems’ religious horror film The Unholy, which scored $3.2 million. That’s a very solid opening for a lightly-promoted horror film during a period when any film hoping to make cash at theaters still has to push really hard for promotion. In fact, the number tops Sony’s previous pandemic high opener with Monster Hunter, which opened in mid-December to a $2.2 million start. The Unholy picked Easter Weekend to play into its religious themes involving a young girl who becomes the focus for supernatural phemona after a supposed visitation from the Virgin Mary. That appears to have paid off for the Jeffrey Dean Morgan-led movie.

And that’s good, because critical acclaim is not there for the movie, which sits at 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. We don’t have a CinemaScore for it, but like most horror this should experience a quick drop-off in the coming weeks. Screen Gems isn’t worried about it because this film likely didn’t cost much and the marketing was barely there, so if it can even hit $8 million to 10 million it’ll probably bring in some profit. Fortunately it has little competition until Mortal Kombat opens in a couple of weeks.

Last week’s box office champion Nobody acted like a pre-pandemic action flick tended to, dropping 55% in its second weekend to $3.1 million. That’s fully to be expected for a movie competing for the same audience as Godzilla vs. Kong. The Bob Odenkirk-starring action thriller now stands at $11.9 million domestically and $21.1 million worldwide, a good two-week number against a budget of $16 million. It’s looking as if it will close out its box office run at around $18 million to $20 million domestically and when it hits digital on April 16th, it will continue to bring in money for a very happy Universal Pictures.

Raya and the Last Dragon was 45% in its fifth weekend to $2.1 million. The Disney animated film has totalled $32.2 million domestically and $94.2 million worldwide, in addition to whatever it has brought in via Disney+ Premier Access. It should be able to end its box office run at around $36 million to $37 million, and will be some level of profitable when all the accounting sheets are totalled even with a $100 million production budget.

Tom & Jerry slid two spots to #5 in its sixth weekend, down 44% to $1.4 million. The animated/live-action hybrid comedy is now at $39.5 million domestically and $93.5 million worldwide off of a budget of just $50 million. Those are some good numbers and will assure the film of profit, with its domestic total likely to end around $44 million to $45 million.

One of the unique things about film releases during the pandemic is that films no one has really heard have a chance to shine. Case in point: The Girl Who Believes In Miracles. This faith-based drama from Atlas Distribution — a studio previously best-known for releasing the two Atlas Shrugged sequels — came in at #6 with $526,000. That may sound minuscule, but this film almost certainly cost next to nothing and had very little promotion. There aren’t even any reviews aggregated for it, though an admittedly small sampling of user reviews on the site sit at 96% fresh. That’s pretty normal for faith-based films and not indicative of the movie’s crossover potential, but it’s still an encouraging number.

How far can The Girl Who Believes in Miracles get? Well, probably not too much further. These kinds of films generate little buzz outside of their focused fanbase and tend to drop off quickly, especially when they are released around religious holiday weekends. It should slip away quickly, though Atlas will be very happy with whatever the film brings in.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Courier was down two spots to #7 in its third week with $452,000, down a hefty 57% from last weekend. The thriller now stands at $4.3 million domestically and $4.6 million worldwide. Those aren’t amazing numbers, but the film was likely cheap. A $6 million or so domestic total seems likely.

The bad news gets worse for Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking, which felt a hefty sting from Godzilla vs. Kong and dropped 67% to $380,000 in its fifth weekend. The Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley-starring sci-fi action film is a money loser, and frankly it would have been regardless of the pandemic considering the tepid response from fans and critics and the $100 million production budget. The film is already out on digital, having released on Friday, but even that won’t help it get out of the red.

The Croods: A New Age was down 62% to $210,000 in its 19th week. The Universal and Dreamworks Animation production now has $56.3 million domestically and $162.5 million worldwide, a full-on hit off a budget of $65 million.

Closing out the top 10 was French Exit, Sony Pictures Classics’ romantic dramedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The film, which is about a Manhattan socialite in Paris who believes her cat may be possessed by her dead husband, has been in extremely limited release for some time before expanding to 483 theaters this weekend for a $193,000 take. After eight weeks, the film now stands at $205,500 domestically and $640,000 worldwide. While the film has earned middling reviews, it was able to capitalize on some publicity after Pfeiffer’s performance earned a Golden Globe nod. We don’t know the budget on this one or whether Sony Pictures Classic has further expansion plans, but for a niche film in a smattering of theaters this isn’t bad.

Next weekend will see only one new wide-ish release in Voyagers, Neil Burger’s sci-fi thriller starring Tye Sheridan and Lily-Rose Depp. It won’t make much of an impression and Godzilla vs. Kong wull continue to reign.

BOX OFFICE TOP THREE (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Godzilla vs. Kong – $32.2 million ($48.5 million total)
2. The Unholy – $3.2 million ($3.2 million total)
3. Nobody – $3.1 million ($11.9 million total)
4. Raya & The Last Dragon – $2.1 million ($32.2 million total)
5. Tom & Jerry – $1.4 million ($39.5 million total)
6. The Girl Who Believes in Miracles – $526,000 ($526,000 total)
7. The Courier – $452,000 ($4.2 million total)
8. Chaos Walking – $380,000 ($12.2 million total)
9. The Croods: A New Age – $210,000 ($56.3 million total)
10. French Exit – $193,000 ($200,500 total)