The US box office is well and truly back in the business after a horrible one year. After Godzilla vs. Kong gave a major push to the domestic theatrical business, the latest release, Mortal Kombat, and Demon Slayer have further strengthened the grip.
Both Mortal Combat and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, have blown away all the expectations regarding their box office run. On Friday (April 23), Mortal Combat grossed around $9 million while Demon Slayer, with a slight edge, earned approx $9.5 million.
The box office numbers for both the movies are amazing considering the fact that both are R-rated and somewhat limiting their potential audience. Plus, only 58% of US theaters are operational, and that too with just around 30% occupancy while Canada's 5.8K theaters are open with only 20% occupancy.
As per the local surveys, Mortal Combat was forecast to earn less than $15 million in the opening weekend, which now seems far too low than the actual numbers once they will come out after the weekend. The movie is definitely heading for around $22-24 million in the opening weekend.
The 2021 releases of the Warner Bros. are debuting simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. It's part of the studio’s gambit to shake up the way it's distributing its films in the COVID era. However, it was a move that was widely criticized as it will dent chances for theatrical business to recover quickly. The studio, however, announced that its movies from 2022 onwards will release in the theaters first then on HBO Max after 45 days.
However, the way people have shown their willingness to go to theaters, there are high chances that the theatrical business will be back on track soon with its full capacity.