Maybe we never really needed an auteur to “save the movies” by blowing up a 737, or that guy to re-release a 242-minute version of a superhero movie that everyone already saw and agreed was bad. Maybe all we’ve needed this whole time was a two-hour fight between a giant prehistoric ape and a nuclear weapons metaphor.
At least, that will be the test this weekend, after Godzilla vs. Kong hit U.S. theaters on Wednesday. The fourth installment in the MonsterVerse, Godzilla vs. Kong is projected to make $20 million in the U.S. over the holiday weekend, which, though “pretty lackluster” in regular times, could end up being “one of the biggest box office openings of the pandemic,” CNN reports. The film already made $120 overseas last weekend, which is nothing to sneeze at, especially since the last installment in the series, 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, made $394 million worldwide — when there wasn’t a pandemic going on.
Godzilla vs. Kong‘s potential success is owed to a number of factors, certainly not the least of which is the fact that theaters are finally reopening in the country’s biggest movie markets, New York City and Los Angeles. Widespread access to vaccines will also embolden audiences to watch the movie in a physical theater rather than on HBO Max, while the film’s premise — literally just a really big, city-smooshing fight between Godzilla and King Kong — will draw people who are looking to have their skulls rattled by “seat transducers” and roaring IMAX sound. Even the movie’s title promotes the kind of alliances between strangers in a theater that you can only get from being extremely invested in one fictional monster pummeling another.
Though Indiewire cautions that any comparison between movies released during the pandemic isn’t “fair” due to shifting regulations and the fluctuating number of open screens, Godzilla vs. Kong‘s “incredibly entertaining fight sequences” (those being the words of The Week‘s critic) are a testament to why we went to the movies before the pandemic, and why we’ll go again: It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s loud. It makes you crave popcorn.
And go Team Godzilla.