In a move that at one time would have seemed highly improbable for a major movie studio to make, word ‘round campfire from our compadres at The Hollywood Reporter has it that the upcoming tent-pole blockbuster movie Godzilla vs. Kong is “likely” destined for a very short theatrical window before heading directly to a streaming platform for wide release.
Legendary Pictures and their newest offering of Godzilla vs. Kong is just the latest major studio movie to have to contend with the ever-shifting ground that is the new Hollywood release pattern during the global pandemic of 2020. Already huge contenders like Wonder Woman 1984, Bill and Ted Face the Music and Mulan have pivoted and shifted gears to either a simultaneous theatrical/streaming release or – in the case of such genre bellwethers as the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise and David Gordon Greene’s sophomore Halloween outing – have outright significantly delayed their release dates by twelve months or more in order to (hopefully) circumnavigate, if not outright outwait, COVID-19.
Anonymous sources have revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the upcoming Adam Wingard directed take on Tokyo’s favorite berserker and NYC’s most prominent climber of the Empire State Building was the subject in recent days of high-stakes bidding by streaming giant Netflix. What do we mean when we throw around the term “high-stakes”? According to those same anonymous sources, Netflix offered over $200 million smackers for this latest entry in Legendary’s so-called monsterverse series. Just to illustrate the level of poker being played here Dear Readers, that offer was apparently turned down by Legendary as not being enough. Their slate of big monster flicks are huge players internationally, specifically in China, with their Skull Island entry scoring $168 million clams in the Middle Kingdom alone.
Originally slated for a May 21, 2021 theatrical release, doubt is now being cast on just how much a crippled U.S. theater industry can actually reel in for Godzilla vs. Kong, especially with a vaccine timeline that is constantly shifting and changing. It is under that murky and uncertain Magic 8 Ball forecast that Legendary Pictures has begun to entertain a different release. And time is ‘a-tickin’: The film studio that counts Godzilla and King Kong as major financial boons is faced with a proposition that may stick them with carrying around an unreleased and huge-budget movie. It is worth noting, too, that the final decision might not even rest with Legendary; Warner Brothers – who holds a twenty five percent interest in Godzilla vs. Kong – has control of the release of the movie.
And on that Warner note: Warner Bros. chairman Ann Sarnoff and WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar are reportedly considering a HBO Max offer for the release of the movie, a model which they chose to implement for Wonder Woman 1984. In theory, this offer would include a theatrical release, too.
Stay tuned to Vents for any future developments on this story.