Hollywood’s wild ride through the global pandemic continues.
First, it was the Warner Bros. decision in late-2020 to shift all of its 2021 theatrical releases over to the HBO Max streaming service. Now, one of the studio’s big blockbusters for the year, Godzilla vs. Kong, will be arriving for streaming an unheard-of two months ahead of schedule.
The new release date is March 26, 2021.
It’s not uncommon for Hollywood to shift release dates around even when there isn’t a dangerous illness sweeping across the planet. But this is still a surprise, starting with the fact that Godzilla vs. Kong is even coming to HBO Max as part of the Warner Bros. 2021 plan.
That was an open question as recently as early January. The announcement to move theatrical releases over to streaming wasn’t greeted by all the various stakeholders as welcome news. Such was the case with Godzilla vs. Kong, a $200 million project that was largely paid for by Legendary Pictures.
A Jan. 8 story from The Hollywood Reporter suggested that a deal between the two parties was close to happening. Now it has. The specifics of the deal aren’t clear (nor should they be), but the studio presumably made Legendary an offer that accounts for the lost business — and increased financial risk — of skipping a theatrical release.
Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth movie in a series that’s revived some of the biggest and most enduring movie monsters of all time. First came 2014’s Godzilla reboot. That was followed three years later in 2017 by Kong: Skull Island, which reintroduced King Kong to a modern audience. The focus flipped back to Godzilla in 2019’s Godzilla: King of Monsters.
Now the two heavyweight city stompers will face off in what promises to be a bruising showdown. The entire series is itself a sort of reboot, as Godzilla and King Kong both have their own long histories at the movies. They even faced off in 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla from Toho, the Japanese studio behind the Godzilla series.
We haven’t seen a single trailer yet for Godzilla vs. Kong, but expect that to change soon with the movie now just over two months from release.