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‘Buzzy’ films will grab audiences in theaters and at home, ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ producer says

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“Godzilla vs. Kong” shattered expectations both in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, offering some hope for the hard-hit film industry that audiences will return to theaters.

“I think people really miss going out and having fun,” said Joshua Grode, CEO of film production company Legendary Entertainment on CNBC’s “The Exchange” on Tuesday. Legendary partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures to produce the epic monster movie.

“People now can go outside. They’re choosing what to do to entertain themselves and the power of going to movies has been established through this terrifically fun movie that has been released this past weekend,” he said.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” opened last Wednesday and gathered mass audiences across the country, making it the best opening weekend for any movie released in the U.S. since the pandemic. The movie tallied $32.2 million at the box office from Friday to Sunday and now has made over $48.5 million in sales in the U.S. and Canada. It grossed $48.5 million domestically, where about 55% of movie theaters were open, and $285 million worldwide.

Notably, these strong box office receipts came even as the film was also released for streaming on HBO Max for no additional fee for its subscribers. It was the most viewed movie on the platform since its launch, according to Deadline. Both Warner Bros. and HBO Max are units of AT&T.

“I think a lot of the misconception may be that if you see it on HBO Max, you’re not gonna see in the theaters, and I don’t really think that’s a one-for-one trade off,” Grode said.

Although he didn’t have specific numbers, Grode said the film was the largest sign-up event HBO Max has had since the service launched last May.

He expects the trends can be repeated with other films in the future.

“You have to find movies that are going to be buzzy, that are going to be made for the big screen experience” he said. “‘Godzilla vs Kong’ has two huge monsters going at it. This movie was designed to be fun. It’s designed to have people cheering for Team Kong or Team Godzilla.”

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