‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Boosts HBO Max to One of Strongest Weeks Since Launch, Data Suggests

Godzilla vs. Kong
Yinchen Niu/VIP

Last week’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Kong” (“GvK”) could help April 2021 go down as a big month of engagement for WarnerMedia’s nearly one-year-old streaming service HBO Max. 

That’s according to connected-TV analytics provider TVision, which provided exclusive data to Variety Intelligence Platform showing that HBO Max during the week of March 28 accounted for more time spent with subscription streaming services among panel members than any other week since the streamer launched in May 2020, save for the week of and following “Wonder Woman 1984” (“WW1984”) debuting. “GvK” premiered March 31

TVision measures viewing across all major U.S. SVODs (including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock, CBS All Access and Discovery+) and AVODs (YouTube, the Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi). The analytics company tracks viewing of nearly 25,000 titles among 5,000 households (14,000 individuals) across the U.S. on connected TVs.   

The third-party data firm’s numbers suggest the week of March 28 was HBO Max’s third-biggest week since May 2020, when measured by share of weekly time spent with streaming services. 

HBO Max’s fourth- and fifth-biggest periods by this measure were the weeks of Dec. 13 and Feb. 7. The following events, respectively, likely help (at least in part) explain the big engagement during those weeks: The streamer finally launched on Roku devices on Dec. 17 and debuted the now Best Picture-nominated “Judas and the Black Messiah” on Feb. 12. 

It’s been pretty clear “WW1984” was a big debut. But just how big relative to other HBO Max film releases is less obvious. 

Warner Bros. said, without providing numbers, “GvK” had a “larger viewing audience than any other film or show on HBO Max since launch.” 

Moreover, “GvK” accounted for 8.1% of U.S. streams of the top 100 most watched movies among two million Reelgood users from April 2-4, according to data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform. That share of streams was lower during the opening Friday-Sunday periods for “The Little Things” (7.4%) and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (6.3%). 

Meanwhile, Samba TV reported that “GvK” had 3.6 million households watching for at least five minutes from March 31 to April 4, while “WW1984” had 2.2 million households watching during its opening weekend on HBO Max.  

But remember that the “WW1984” opening weekend was Dec. 25-27 (a Friday-Sunday timeframe), while “GvK” dropped on a Wednesday. One would expect the latter title to have higher viewership across this longer time frame.  

Even though the debut strength of “GvK” and “WW1984” may be different depending on which third-party data provider you encounter, what’s clear with all these data companies is the former film marks another solid outing for Warner Bros.’ day-and-date model. 

That’s valuable in the sense of helping to see if the company’s “No numbers for you, but best one yet!” day-and-date movie rhetoric actually holds any water, which becomes increasingly exhausting as we see companies including Apple (seemingly indirectly) doing the same thing.  

Films like “GvK” and “WW1984” being able to pop on HBO Max is promising to studios in the blockbuster biz, but it’s perhaps less important to the many other distributors that focus on lower-budgeted fare. 

While everyone has been focused on the big Warner Bros. films on HBO Max, don’t forget other notable HBO Max original films, like the Meryl Streep-starring “Let Them All Talk” and 2020 Sundance-premiering “Charm City Kings” which appear to have premiered to relatively less fanfare.  

Up next on the Warner Bros. day-and-date HBO Max slate is “Mortal Kombat” (pushed back to April 23), which benefits from being based on existing IP and may help the streamer notch another notable week of engagement.