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