The figures are in and Mortal Kombat has proven to be a K.O. for HBO Max. The viewer tracking application Samba TV has reported that thanks to the R-Rated video game adaptation, HBO Max has posted its most viewed weekend premier ever, clocking 3.8M U.S. households.
According to Samba TV, which polls HBO Max audiences in terrestrial TV homes, viewership of Mortal Kombat reached as high as 1.7M households per Samba TV on Friday, the day of its release. Overall it drew more viewers in its first weekend than Warner Bros./Legendary's Godzilla vs. Kong did in its first five days, which the third-party streaming monitoring service had down at 3.6M households.
Based on the figures provided by Samba it would also mean that Mortal Kombat was streamed more than Wonder Woman 1984 during its HBO Max premiere in December last year. Wonder Woman 1984 was the first Warner Bros. film to be released in movie theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, but was ultimately only streamed by 2.2M U.S. households during its opening weekend, 1.6M less than Mortal Kombat
It's not just home viewership where the movie has flourished, it exceeded all theatrical expectations at the box office too. Coming in with an 3-day opening of $23.3M, the New Line movie smashed initial estimates of $10M to $12M and finished firmly on top of the Box Office. But it was not without competition. Another surprise hit in the shape of R-rated Funimation/Aniplex anime feature Demon Slayer was also released that weekend and overperformed at the Box Office finishing hot on the heels of Mortal Kombat with an impressive $21.1M, far exceeding its $10M projection.
Could it provide the much needed jolt to the theater industry to prevent it facing fatality? As moviegoers head back to theaters in their masses after what seems like an eternity in lockdown, it could be argued that recent Box Office hits like Mortal Kombat and the aforementioned Godzilla vs. Kong are reviving the industry and these arguments certainly wouldn't be without merit. However, in reality it is probably too early to accurately predict and is something that only time will tell. At least with its theatrical offerings, Warner Bros. is investing in this drive back to the theaters, something Netflix and Amazon are reluctant to do.
What makes the success of Simon McQuoid's 2021 iteration of Mortal Kombat even more worthy of celebration is that following the critical and commercial failure of the 1997 film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the film languished in development hell for a period of nearly two decades, with McQuoid being attached to the project since November 2016.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics, fans of the Midway video game series have reacted more positively. Many praise McQuoid's understanding and honouring of the film's video game origins, which he displayed by incorporating actual lines of dialogue from the games as well as recognizable signature fight moves and sequences.
Mortal Kombat is available to stream on HBO Max and is showing at select theaters across the US for a limited time only. Plans for a UK release have yet to be announced.