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Mortal Kombat (2021) performed better than expected on HBO Max

Mortal Kombat has had about a 66% success rate in the cinematic world. In 1995, the first movie got solid reviews and kicked ass in the box office; Mortal Kombat mania was at an all-time high. Enthusiasm for the franchise dropped by 1997, with the release of Mortal Kombat 4 and Annihilation. The subsequent movie sequel bombed critically and financially. If you ever want to see the worst acting in movie history, just watch the first scene in that movie where they make hilarious facial expressions and hand motions – I burst out laughing.

A third movie was essentially in developmental hell for 20 years. It wasn’t until 2015 where a producer and director was announced. The film finally released this past April and was received much better than 1997’s abomination. Critics largely said it was made for fans of Mortal Kombat, and most fans enjoyed the action but thought some plot points needed tweaking.

As with most movies during the pandemic, box office numbers were not as high. Streaming, on the other hand, was a gigantic success. HBO and Warner Bros. made the bold and unique decision to simultaneously release their theatrical releases with one on their streaming service, HBO Max. Unlike Disney+, you did not get charged extra to play the movie (I’m looking at you, Mulan and Cruella). According to WarnerMedia’s executive vice president of growth and revenue Brad Wilson, Mortal Kombat (2021) knocked it out of the park:

Mortal Kombat 2021 scene

Mortal Kombat was an interesting title for us, because I will say that while we expected it to do well, we did not expect it to do as well as it did. It’s been one of our top assets on the platform. And those customers are now crossing over into watching all the other great titles that we typically see, but also some of the great library content that we have with Friends, The Big Bang Theory, The Sopranos, etc.

Brad Wilson

Given the enormous success of the movie, could we continue to see their movies come out on HBO Max and in theaters even long after the pandemic? I guess only time will tell. Based on the positive feedback from studio execs, it seems like a no-brainer to greenlight a Mortal Kombat sequel. We hear The Miz wants to jump in the shoes of Johnny Cage.

Marcin Gulik

Live and learn everyday. Dreamcast and Shenmue are the epitome of gaming!

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