The kaiju-tastic Godzilla vs. Kong hits cinemas and HBO Max today, and I can confirm it is a bombastic (if kind of silly) blast as director Adam Wingard throws just about every crazy idea he can into this blockbuster. As the culmination of Lionsgate’s Monsterverse cinematic universe – which was kicked off by 2014’s Godzilla reboot – you would perhaps expect to stay seated once the movie ends so that you can get a teaser of what’s coming next for these monsters. After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has pretty much conditioned us that this is how these things work. But hang around through the credits of Godzilla vs. Kong and you’ll surprisingly be greeted with a whole lot of nothing. So what gives?
Speaking to Dreadcentral, Wingard revealed that the original plans had been to include a post-credits stinger, but the scene ended up just being used elsewhere.
We actually did shoot a post-credit scene. but we ended up using the footage in the movie itself. We never actually edited it as a post-credit scene; it kind of got cannibalized and ended up sort of being the end of the movie. We used it in a slightly different context than it was originally shot for.
So if the intended post-credit scene got used in the movie itself, why they didn’t just shoot a new one? The director actually had a very refreshing answer for that.
The MonsterVerse is at a crossroads now. It’s really at the point where audiences have to kind of step forward and vote for more of these things. If this movie is a success obviously they will continue forward. But I actually think it’s good that there’s not a post-credit scene because, you know, the MonsterVerse is different from the Marvel universe. Just because you have a [shared] universe it doesn’t mean you have to do all the things that Marvel does. And ultimately I think it’s better with sequels to not pigeonhole yourself.
I think some of the best movies are films that work completely independently and you can go into the sequel or the movie can stand alone. But if a movie is totally contingent on a sequel then you are just talking about the next thing that is coming up and you can’t totally enjoy that ride. But yeah, we did shoot [a post-credits scene] but didn’t end up using it.
It is far too common nowadays to see studios hatching out plans for franchise sequels and spinoffs before the first film has even hit cinemas, so this approach from Lionsgate is quite a nice change of pace. It’s not too surprising though for two reasons.
The first is Lionsgate’s overall approach to this franchise. When the studio rebooted Godzilla in 2014, they didn’t try to set up other films either. Sure there were some Easter eggs and hints at other stuff, but they just wanted to make a good English language Godzilla movie first. It was only due to that film’s success that we got Kong: Skull Island, and then Godzilla: King of the Monsters. And even then, all the entries in the franchise before Godzilla vs. Kong could easily be watched as standalone movies. Hardcore fans could notice and appreciate the links in the overarching story, but newcomers can gloss over them and still not feel lost.
The second reason why Lionsgate is taking this wait-and-see approach though is purely commercial. While Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island were both box office successes, each earning over a half a billion dollars and turning a profit against their production costs, the more-expensive Godzilla: King of the Monsters barely broke even as its earnings fell to $386 million. With the COVID-19 pandemic nerfing all box office expectations for the foreseeable future, declaring Godzilla vs. Kong successful enough to deserve additional follow-ups gets very tricky. Lionsgate and Warner Bros., who co-financed the film, will probably be taking a very close look at the HBO Max viewership numbers this coming weekend and will then have to make some hard choices from incomplete data.
As such, I can totally understand why the studio is rather waiting a while before they start teasing anything further down the pipeline. And if this is the end of the Monsterverse for now, at least it went out swinging… a giant axe at the head of a giant nuclear-powered iguana.
Last Updated: March 26, 2021