In an interview, WarnerMedia's executive vice president of growth and revenue has revealed that the company was actually taken aback by the success of the latest Mortal Kombat film, which released earlier in 2021.
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, the first Mortal Kombat film was released in 1995, starring Linden Ashby, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Robin Shou, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto, and Christopher Lambert in the roles of the iconic roster of fighters. It is generally accepted that this one is a bit pants (okay, it's also got a bit of the 'cult classic' status about it, too). Like, it still pulled in an enormous $122.2 million at the box office, leaving its $18 million budget in the dust. But, the script was not brilliant, its plot was all over the place, the performances were ropey, and the blood and viscera of the games was left out in order to maintain a peachy PG-13 rating. Then came Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in 1997, a sequel that was panned by critics and well and truly buried the possibility of more Mortal Kombat on the silver screen. Never say never, I suppose, as two decades after that, the new Mortal Kombat resurrected the series with a brand new character at the heart of the legendary tournament between the kombatants of Outworld and Earthrealm.
We pitted actors Ludi Lin and Max Huang (who play Liu Kang and Kung Lao in the film) against each other in a gripping game of Guess The Fatality. Let me tell you now, these two are very dedicated to their craft. Check it out below.
Like lots of other films that have premiered during the pandemic, Mortal Kombat arrived in theatres on April 8th but also became available to watch at home through HBO Max, the streaming service owned by WarnerMedia. Chatting to IGN, the company's executive vice president of growth and revenue Brad Wilson said that the commercial performance of Mortal Kombat surprised those who worked on it.
"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," explained Wilson. Considering that it had a budget of $55 million, the film has grossed $81.2 million as of the end of May.
"It's been one of our top assets on the platform," continued the executive. "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."
When asked about the future of the film based on its obvious success and whether we could see a sequel, Wilson didn't have much to share at this point. "We believe that we're here to share and tell stories and create meaningful, enduring connections. That is a lens by which we start. Do we use that data to inform future programming decisions? The answer is yes," they answered.
"These are early days. We're all sort of figuring out the art and science that we lead against. But we're also trying not to deviate from a formula that we know it's been really successful with all original programming in the past," they concluded. Well, writer Greg Russo is very happy to pick up where the film left off with an idea that the story could span a trilogy, and Sub-Zero actor Joe Taslim is signed on for four more films. We'll keep you in the loop once we know more.
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