Mortal Kombat, Warner Bros.' upcoming movie based on the video game series of the same name, has had its release date pushed back.
In a press release sent to IGN, Variety and others, Warner Bros. revealed that Mortal Kombat will now arrive on April 23. This is only a week after the previous April 16 launch date, so eager fans can still get their fatality fix next month in theaters or on HBO Max.
- HBO Max price: how much does it cost?
- Best HBO Max TV shows
- Zack Snyder's Justice League changed my mind on a second viewing
Why has Mortal Kombat's release date been moved?
Warner Bros. didn't provide an explanation behind the move, but we have a couple of theories as to why Mortal Kombat's launch has been delayed.
The first is that the studio doesn't want Mortal Kombat to eat into the ticket sales of its other tentpole release. Godzilla vs Kong launched simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters today (March 31), and the MonsterVerse movie has got off to a strong start at the box office.
Currently, Godzilla vs Kong has made $121 million in international ticket sales, with Chinese audiences accounting for $70 million of that figure. If Mortal Kombat had stuck to its April 16 release, it would have arrived just two weeks after Godzilla vs Kong, and would have competed with its fellow film for ticket sales.
In delaying Mortal Kombat's release by a week, Warner Bros. can capitalize on ticket sales for both. Interest in Godzilla vs Kong will likely start to wane by April 23, so releasing Mortal Kombat as that starts to happen would be a shrewd move on Warner Bros.' part. Sure, it's primarily a business decision, but Warner Bros. can bolster its revenue streams this way, rather than having their two flicks competing for audiences, particularly in international territories.
Speaking of international cinema chains, this relates to our other theory, too. Currently, most European theaters are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the European Union being in the grip of a third wave, however, some European nations look set to reopen their cinemas to the public around - or after - April 19. According to ScreenDaily, countries including Germany, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Switzerland are still planning to open their cinemas on and around that date.
The UK, whose vaccination program has enabled it to start slowly lifting lockdown restrictions, won't see its cinemas begin to open until April 26. Drive-in cinemas can reopen from April 12 in England, but most indoor theaters won't have their restrictions lifted until late April at the earliest.
While US viewers can watch Mortal Kombat when it comes to HBO Max next month, international audiences will only be able to see it in theaters, as the streaming service isn't available outside of America. If Warner Bros. wants to capitalize on UK and European markets from a revenue standpoint, it's in its best interests to delay Mortal Kombat's release until cinemas can reopen. That way, Warner Bros will be able to draw in European punters and make more money at the international box office.
Given the state of the movie industry a year on from the Covid-19 pandemic's arrival, though, you can understand why the studio wants to make the most of its tentpole movie release schedule, and start posting profits again.
Mortal Kombat arrives on April 23 simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.