Samba TV reported on Monday that 3.6 million households watched a minimum of five minutes of Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max in the first five days from March 31 to April 4.
HBO Max did not provide any viewership numbers on Godzilla vs. Kong but according to Samba TV, this movie saw a bigger audience than the previous movies of HBO Max. The weekend launch on Christmas which was Wonder Woman 1984 saw 2.2 million U.S. Households watching it for at least five minutes while Justice League saw 1.8 million U.S. households watching it for at least five minutes.
Samba TV pools viewers only from terrestrial smart TVs. This data however does support the claim made by WarnerMedia Direct to Consumer EVP and General Manager Andy Forssell that Godzilla vs. Kong “had a larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch.”
Warner Bros also reported that Godzilla vs. Kong made $48.1 million at the domestic box office in the first five days. It is a massive hit. Forssell mentioned on Sunday about the movie that “the HBO Max audience has spoken very clearly and loudly: they love this film and are watching it more than once.”
Warner Bros has done an amazing job in bringing audiences back to the theatres with Godzilla vs. Kong after the virus had cast a shadow on moviegoers. This is also a huge success for Warners as only 55% of the Canada U.S. market is open. This is an eventful movie and it released on a holiday weekend where 76% of kids were not in school on Friday which lead to Godzilla vs. Kong bypassing industry projections.
The domestic box office success of this movie tells us many things. First, it obviously underscores that young men under 25 have not yet turned their back on going to the theatres.
Second, theatres are much more powerful than HBO Max subscribers. If their audience was so strong, they would have released the numbers. However, HBO Go and HBO Liner apps did showcase 19.6 million audiences for the Game of Thrones finale in 2019.
Many competitive box office sources have asserted that Godzilla vs. Kong could have been much more popular if it was not released on HBO Max. If viewers did not have the option to watch this movie at home on HBO Max, then they may have gone to the theaters and this movie would have made a lot more money. HBO costs around $15 a month to gain access to their complete streaming catalog while it may cost one person around $20 to watch a movie in the theater. However, it can also be said that people who watched this movie at home may not have gone to the theater anyway. Still, why release a premium movie like this? Is it not better to increase anticipation and release the movie later for at-home viewing. However, Warners may say that this HBO release was only this year because of the virus.