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By Tyler Aquilina
April 03, 2021 at 03:07 PM EDT
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Godzilla vs. Kong is off to a truly monstrous start at the box office.

Warner Bros.' creature feature smashed the record for the biggest debut of the COVID era, racking up $27.9 million in just three days. (The film was released on Wednesday, March 31.) This is far and away the highest domestic opening for a film since the pandemic began, easily edging out Wonder Woman 1984's $16.4 million debut in December.

Analysts now expect Godzilla vs. Kong is headed for somewhere around a $32 million weekend, which would make for a five-day total of $48 million. Some are predicting it could go as high as $50 million. (It's already made $123 million internationally.)

The film's gross has, of course, been bolstered by the reopening of theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the nation's two biggest moviegoing markets. But this is still a promising sign for the box office, which has been on an overall upward trajectory in recent weeks, particularly with Godzilla vs. Kong also available to stream on HBO Max. And the monster mash was by no means a surefire hit; 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters debuted with only $47.8 million in a pre-pandemic landscape.

It's a promising sign that moviegoers are ready and willing to return to theaters after a year spent at home, even with the industry moving decisively toward streaming.

"Vaccines, plus falling COVID cases, plus more open cities and theaters, plus studio confidence, plus new movies, equals more patrons going to the movies," Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian previously told EW. "People are frustrated; they want to go out. Dinner and a movie is something people have been thinking about for about a year."

Godzilla vs. Kong, the fourth entry in Warner Bros.' "MonsterVerse" franchise, stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and Brian Tyree Henry. Check out the film's trailer above.

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