February 3, 2023

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ stomps international box office with biggest opening weekend since the pandemic began

Godzilla vs. Kong, a film in which a giant reptile throws down with a giant primate, seems to have done pretty well at the international box office. While the U.S. won’t get its fill of gargantuan animal fights until the end of the month, the monster movie has already raked in $121.8 million from 38 markets across the globe. 

There’s still some way to go before Godzilla vs. Kong recovers its $200 million budget, but it’s a more than decent start — especially considering Americans haven’t seen it yet.

While the coronavirus pandemic has continued to keep sensible people in the U.S. far away from movie theatres, countries that have the virus more under control have cautiously crept back in front of silver screens. Over the weekend, 56,777 of those screens apparently featured Godzilla and King Kong punching on.

China supplied Godzilla vs. Kong‘s biggest audience during its opening weekend, the film earning $70.3 million in the country. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Godzilla vs. Kong was the best opening of a film during the pandemic in Mexico, where it earned $6.3 million. Australians also shelled out $6.3 million to watch the movie — more than they paid to see 2019’s Godzilla: King of Monsters throughout its entire run.

Godzilla vs. Kong also provided Hollywood’s biggest IMAX box office weekend since December 2019 — just before the pandemic took hold. Playing in 40 international markets, IMAX screenings earned $12.4 million, with $9.4 million of that sum coming from China.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the film industry. Big releases are regularly being relegated to streaming services, with only 52 percent of American movie theatres currently open, and companies such as Marvel are reportedly moving production to less afflicted countries. As studios are forced to look abroad to find an audience and solve their pandemic problems, it will be interesting to see what effect if any it has on content.

Godzilla vs. Kong hits U.S. theatres and HBO Max on Mar. 31.