Godzilla vs. Kong has gotten yet another new release date — this time earlier than the one that came before. Warner Bros. Studios originally scheduled the monster cross-over for theaters in November of 2020, then moved it to May of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This week, they moved the movie up again to March 26, 2021, according to a report by Vanity Fair, releasing it both in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day.
Godzilla vs. Kong will be one of Warner Bros.' big blockbuster releases this year to go straight to streaming, and the studio is wasting no time in getting it out. The movie follows the continuity established in Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), and is the next step in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' plans for an interconnected "MonsterVerse."
Confusion and last-minute changes have plagued Godzilla vs. Kong for months now as its release draws nearer. Back in November, The Hollywood Reporter learned that Netflix had made a sizable offer to Warner Bros. and Legendary to license the monster movie for a big premiere on its platform. Netflix offered $200 million — less than the studios hoped Godzilla vs. Kong would make in the theaters, although more than they might have realistically hoped for during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, at the time insiders revealed some details about Warner Bros. and Legendary's deal. Legendary reportedly paid for 75 percent of the production budget while Warner Bros. paid for 25 percent, however, the contract stipulated that Warner Bros. would have the final say on any distribution deals. This allowed the studio to reject Netflix and give the favorable premiere deal to its fellow WarnerMedia enterprise, HBO Max.
Warner Bros. Studios is releasing all of its 2021 movies directly onto HBO Max this year as a way of promoting the service and making up some lost revenue amid the pandemic. Starting with Wonder Woman 1984 last month, many of the studio's biggest productions of the year will be available to stream at no additional price on HBO Max in the months to come. In fact, Godzilla vs. Kong is not even the next big release coming.
The next major premiere coming to HBO Max is The Little Things starring Denzel Washington, available on Jan. 29, followed by Judas and the Black Messiah starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield on Feb. 12. A new Tom & Jerry movie then premieres on Feb. 26, followed by The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark on March 12. After that, Godzilla vs. Kong finally smashes its way on-screen on Friday, March 26, 2021.