Maybe Christopher Nolan buys Jason Kilar a coffee or something? “My bad!”
WarnerMedia’s decision to simultaneously release first-run movies on HBO Max and in theaters in 2021--which was absolutely lambasted by Nolan and other denizens of the Hollywood creative community three months ago--continues to look smart. The latest entry, Godzilla vs. Kong, generated what Warner called its biggest streaming audience to date.
The media company didn’t release specific data. But several companies dabbling in third-party audience research did.
Reelgood, which directs content searches to various streaming services, said 8.1% of the streams it arbitrated over the weekend went to HBO Max for Godzilla vs. Kong, which opened Thursday, March 31. That performance surpassed the previous biggest opening, according to Reelgood—HBO Max's debut of Denzel Washington serial-killer thriller The Little Things in January, which captured 7.4% of streams when it opened. Reelgood ranks the top 10 movie openings on the major U.S. SVODs so far in 2021 here:
Meanwhile, another research company, Samba TV, which measures viewership on smart TVs, said that around 3.6 million U.S. households watched Godzilla vs. Kong for at least five minutes in the movie’s first five days of release.
For competitive analysis, Samba TV said 1.7 million households tuned into Marvel film The Falcon and the Winter Solider on Disney Plus for its opening weekend. Notably, Disney Plus has around 40 million U.S. subscribers. But as of last count earlier this year, just over 17 million of the 41 million HBO subscribers in the U.S. are streaming their HBO via Max.
In terms of previous WarnerMedia day-and-date releases on HBO Max, Wonder Woman 1984 opened to 2.2 million HBO Max households in December, Samba TV said. The Little Things opened to 1.4 million HBO Max households.
Perhaps the even better news for HBO Max is that, despite access for Godzilla vs. Kong on a popular SVOD, the film still generated $285.4 million in opening weekend global box office. In fact, the movie, which somehow garnered a respectable 76% score on critical review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, generated a solid $48.5 million in a U.S. theatrical landscape that is still opening up amid COVID.
“The HBO Max audience has spoken very clearly and loudly: they love this film and are watching it more than once,” said Andy Forssell, executive VP and GM, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, in a statement. “Comparing audience metrics in the first four days since its release, Godzilla vs. Kong had a larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!