Mortal Kombat, Highest Grossing R-Rated Movie at Pandemic Box Office

Mortal Kombat characters

This weekend, Mortal Kombat became the highest grossing R-rated movie released during the pandemic. A live-action reboot of the iconic video game franchise, Mortal Kombat brought together some of the series' most iconic fighters for a battle over the fate of Earthrealm. Led by Tadanobu Asano's Lord Raiden, the warriors of Earthrealm include Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, Jax, and Cole Young. With the tenth and potentially final tournament looming, Outworld's forces are hoping to take out Earthrealm's fighters before they even have a chance to stand their ground.

From Outworld, Chin Han's Shang Tsung leads Sub-Zero, Kano, Kabal, Mileena, Goro, and Nitara, hoping that Earthrealm's warriors don't stand a chance. What follows is an action epic that may be missing Mortal Kombat's iconic tournament format, but isn't short on the gruesome fights that fans have come to know and love from the game. The film also leaves room for a sequel and, after this weekend, a follow-up is looking even more likely.

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Producer Todd Garner revealed on Twitter that Mortal Kombat is the highest grossing R-rated film to release during the pandemic. Garner hints at a sequel, saying that if they move forward with another film they'll take what they've learned from this first one to make an even better film. Deadline reports that, in its opening weekend, Mortal Kombat grossed $22.5 million in theaters, earning the top spot of the weekend.

Like Godzilla vs Kong before itMortal Kombat's box office success wasn't guaranteed thanks, in part, to Warner Bros. controversial plan to release their 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day. Godzilla vs Kong beat the odds and became one of the highest grossing films released during the pandemic and Mortal Kombat is following in its footsteps and proving formidable in theaters. Of the films released in 2020 and 2021, many rarely made a splash at the box office, but things have been looking up for theaters as of late.

As vaccines continue to roll out across the country and theatrical markets in LA and New York reopen their doors, more screens are available now than they have been since March 2020. Audiences are also clamoring for big budget blockbusters and a return to the theatrical experience. The fact that Warner Bros. films are performing this well despite their simultaneous streaming release is one indicator that the controversial decision was a smart one and Mortal Kombat and the studio's other 2021 films will continue to reap the benefits without the worry of any further delays.

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Source: Todd Garner / Deadline

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