The return of the MonsterVerse seemed to come at the perfect time last month with Godzilla vs. Kong. Adam Wingard’s big crossover fight inspired more people to go to the theaters for a single Hollywood movie for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic dried up attendance. The action epic has seen its highest gross in China and was looking ahead to high expectations for the kaiju’s home country of Japan. Now, the movie’s release in the East Asian island country has indefinitely been postponed.
Godzilla vs. Kong was set to extend its impressive box office run by opening in Japan starting on May 14 until this news. This release date has now been cancelled for the time being due to a state of emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Godzilla’s website for the region. The state of emergency is slated to last until at least May 11.
This past week Japan logged the highest count of new coronavirus cases in over three months, with 5,793 on Wednesday. A fourth wave of COVID-19 is looking to be on the way for residents of Japan, notably in Osaka and Fukuoka, inciting closures of movie theaters. The country is currently struggling with its vaccine rollout, with less than 2% of Japan’s population vaccinated so far, per Reuters. This is the lowest proportion of inoculated people among wealthy countries.
Godzilla vs. Kong's arrival in Japanese theaters now will be up to how the country deals with its state of emergency and if it manages to make enough progress to allow for larger gatherings like movie showings. While the top two global movie markets, China and the United States, are up and running and starting to bring in some solid numbers for the first time since the pandemic, Japan is the third largest market, and Godzilla vs. Kong is now missing out on some added dollars for an extended amount of time.
The MonsterVerse entry has made $406 million worldwide in the month it has been in theaters, surpassing its predecessor Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which made $386 million in spring 2019. The movie was at No. 1 for four weeks in a row domestically, only just being dethroned this past weekend with Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train being released.
What’s especially impressive is Godzilla vs. Kong did this while also being available on HBO Max its first 30 days. It’s unprecedented for a movie to be at home and theaters at the same time, but it's a strategy Warner Bros has decided to implement for all its 2021 movies.
When the movie does get its time to shine in Japan, the movie could certainly boost the film’s success even further. It has already been announced that Adam Wingard is working on a followup to Godzilla vs. Kong along with developing a Face/Off sequel and Thundercats movie. Wingard will reportedly be the first director to make two MonsterVerse movies following a variety of visions for Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Godzilla vs. Kong is still playing in theaters. Check out what releases to get excited for this May with CinemaBlend’s 2021 release schedule for your next trip to theaters or home viewing.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.