‘Mortal Kombat’ Is A KO For HBO Max, Says Samba TV

Breaking News, Godzilla vs Kong, HBO Max, Mortal Kombat, Movies, Samba TV

For AT&T CEO John Stankey, it’s just another case of a “rising tide lifting all boats.”

Samba TV is reporting that HBO Max posted its most viewed weekend premier ever with New Line’s Mortal Kombat clocking 3.8 million U.S. households. Samba TV polls HBO Max audiences in terrestrial TV homes, and in this case, those who watched the Simon McQuoid directed R-rated movie for at least five minutes. Viewership peaked on Friday in 1.7M households per Samba TV. All in, Samba TV says that Mortal Kombat‘s first weekend drew more viewers than Warner Bros./Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong did in its first five days, which the third-party streaming monitoring service pegged at 3.6M households.

Pair this with the overperformance of Mortal Kombat at the weekend domestic box office. Heading into Friday, B.O. estimates were between $10M-$15M for the feature adaptation reboot of the Midway videogame. The New Line movie came in this morning with an updated 3-day opening of $23.3M. The title was in competition against R-rated Funimation/Aniplex anime feature Demon Slayer which also overperformed to $21.1M, beating its $10M projection; that movie respecting a pure theatrical 90-day window. To date, the $55M Mortal Kombat has made $51.1M.

However, here’s the question about the over-indexing of theatrical-HBO Max day-and-date titles Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong: Does it simply boil down to people wanting to peel away from the house after a year-plus of lockdown? The notion is that as more wide releases hit the calendar, and respect some form of a theatrical window, it will become increasingly more challenging for Warner Bros. to book these types of movies in theaters. Not to mention, moviegoers will soon catch up with this day-and-date model. Currently, the upside for exhibition is that Warner Bros. is spending to drive moviegoers into theaters, and that’s something that Amazon and Netflix aren’t doing with their streaming titles which have an advanced truncated theatrical window of around 14-days. Still, there’s more box office to be gained here if Mortal Kombat was kept a pure theatrical release. Already, mainstream moviegoers are indicating they’re feeling comfortable about returning to the cinema.

Stankey said during Thursday’s earnings call that “We have more of the year to get though to see what the balance between theatrical revenue versus SVOD is.” However, we know which way Warners is going to go next year based on its deal with Regal Cinemas, and that’s a 45-day theatrical window for its event fare. Never underestimate a window-generating movie title. It generates money with each waterfall.

Samba also reports that the weekend’s Mortal Kombat audience skewed slightly female (+2.2%) and younger (44 years old and below) with Black (+37%) Hispanic (+28%) and Asian (+1.4%) viewers also over-indexing.

We’re hearing from other sources in the know that in total HBO Max households (meaning beyond the Samba TV sampling), Mortal Kombat drew a great number of viewers, but it did not beat the first five-day audience of Godzilla vs. Kong. 

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