Home Entertainment Mortal Kombat debuts big on HBO Max/US box office, probably getting a sequel

Mortal Kombat debuts big on HBO Max/US box office, probably getting a sequel

3 min read

Mortal Kombat has been kicking its way around the world for a few weeks now, but this weekend past was the big one as the video game adaptation finally hit the US. As part of Warner Bros.’s 2021 COVID-19-driven release strategy, Mortal Kombat debuted both in American cinemas and on HBO Max on the same day… and promptly did a fatality on the competition!

While we don’t have the full picture yet due to streaming services never releasing numbers publicly, third-party content tracking entity Samba TV reports (via Deadline) that Mortal Kombat was watched on HBO Max by over 3.8 million households in its opening three-day weekend. That puts it ahead of Godzilla vs. Kong which only managed 3.6 million in five days, and far ahead of other HBO Max debuts such as Wonder Woman. Of course, as is always the case with streaming numbers, there’s the caveat that a household is recorded as having watched a movie if it plays for just five minutes or longer. And there’s the fact that third-party services like Samba TV only poll a portion of the subscriber base. So essentially, Mortal Kombat’s debut numbers could be way lower, but they could also be way higher. WB isn’t confirming, but the online reactions we’re seeing from the filmmakers and cast seem to indicate that they have reason to celebrate.

Those reasons are a lot more concrete when we look at the US box office charts, where BoxOfficeMojo reports that Mortal Kombat took the top spot with an opening of $23.3 million. That is admittedly not a massive total in a normal year, but there’s nothing normal about the current film industry as Mortal Kombat now has the second-biggest domestic opening since the pandemic started, bested only by Godzilla vs. Kong’s $31 million debut last month.

It was a close call for Mortal Kombat though as it had to fight off anime feature film Demon Slayer – The Movie: Mugen Train, which pulled in an impressive $21.1 million making it the second-biggest anime movie debut of all time in the US, with just Pokémon: The First Movie’s 1998 debut of $31 million being bigger. However, Pokemon had the advantage of not releasing during a pandemic and not being R-rated like Demon Slayer and thus cutting out a chunk of the audience, which makes Demon Slayer’s performance all that more impressive. And it gets even better as the film has been a gigantic worldwide success since releasing internationally in late 2020, becoming the highest-earning Japanese movie of all time (animated or live-action) as it powered to a $409.3 million global haul.

But back to Mortal Kombat which is now sitting on a combined worldwide tally of $51.1 million. Again that doesn’t seem like much, but if you take into consideration all the box office tickets that it lost to HBO Max viewings, plus the fact that it only had a production budget of $50 million, then I think it’s safe to say that we’re probably getting a sequel greenlit soon. It’s already been reported that star Joe Taslim (who plays Sub-Zero) was given a potential four-movie deal by WB, with subsequent movies being dependent on the first film’s success. And if you’re seen Mortal Kombat already, then you know that it sets up a sequel quite blatantly.

So now there’s probably nothing left to do but wait for that official announcement and start fan-casting all the possible additions to the roster. One person who’s already thrown his hat into the ring is WWE superstar The Miz who is petitioning to play Johnny Cage and he just got some major endorsement.

Last Updated: April 28, 2021


  1. Pretty decent movie. Could really have done the movie without the Cole story.

    But fighting is pretty good, and occasional reference to stuff from games is nice. Not overdone, just one reference for each thing which was nice. As a first stab at new MK movie, they did a decent job.

    Although still wish they could have done a Scoprion vs Sub-Zero only movie. More than enough there to fill up a whole movie. Commented elsewhere that I would have loved them to make the MKU (Mortal Kombat Kinematic Universe) and do individual movies around the groups of character like Sonya/Jax/Johnny/Kano or Raiden/Liu Kang/Kung Loa


    • Kervyn Cloete

      April 28, 2021 at 08:07

      LOL @ MKU!


    • Original Heretic

      April 28, 2021 at 08:34

      I was VERY glad to hear that the very poor “get over here” from the trailer was fixed for the movie.


      • MaSeKind

        April 28, 2021 at 10:12

        Can’t remembver if I heard the version from the trailer. Wonder if they ended up just using the soundbite from the games. Sounds very similar and don’t think it’s that actors voice. Guess the original was probably him


  2. Original Heretic

    April 28, 2021 at 08:34

    I freakin’ loved it.
    Did it drop the ball in places? Hell yeah it did. But then it set that ball alight and kicked it into someone’s face to make up for it.

    The game touches were super cool, especially Liu Kang’s sweeping move on Kano (Kano’s little jump sold it for me!).

    I don’t get all the hate I’ve seen people throw at it. It’s like people have nothing better to do than go hating on stuff they had no hand it.


    • My life as a P1

      April 28, 2021 at 09:50

      The first 10 minutes were good and if the rest of the movie was that it would have been good.

      Problem is they added too much fan service and cheesy catch phrases that were just too much, and honestly destroyed the credibility of certain scenes.

      Also the director needs to get his eyes checked. The whole OCD Liu Kang sash thing should have been removed, it honestly ruined his character for me.


      • MaSeKind

        April 28, 2021 at 10:08

        Liu Kang wasn’t very good. He was a bit too much. Kung Loa on the other hand was done very well I think.

        But the catch phrases and stuff was okay. They did each thing only once. If they kept on spamming that stuff then it would have been cheesy. But you can’t have MK movie without having the characters’ catchphrases or moves in it. What’s the point then? If you remove all that you can just call it Generic Fighter Movie.


        • My life as a P1

          April 28, 2021 at 11:15

          I felt the catch phrases were out of place. If it was starring Jack Black, its perfect.

          Also you have Scorpion there entire movie not uttering a single word of English, then his catch phrase is. Just doesn’t fit the character and sounds out of place


  3. BradeLunner

    April 28, 2021 at 08:49

    I loved the first hour or so of this movie, it squandered it´s potential after that but all in all I definitely did not regret the time spent and am hoping for the sequel. And hope they brutality Cole in the first few minutes, you know, to subvert audience expectations.


  4. For the Emperor!

    April 28, 2021 at 11:50

    Liked the movie. A bit dull in the middle and the “tournament” at the end could have been longer. But definitely a watch for fans and a hope for a follow-up now that the groundwork has been laid.

    Also, if The Miz can do the splits, I will be for it if he acts half as good as Liu Kang….


  5. Insomnia is fun

    April 29, 2021 at 03:38

    Movie wasn’t bad. Kano Jim Carried the movie a bit too much for me. I always thought Liu Kang was the chosen one, here he’s an extra


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