The movie has shown studios, distributors and talent that audiences are ready to make a return to movie theaters
Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

The box office is rumbling awake from its long slumber.

Godzilla vs. Kong raked in $48.5 million domestically its opening weekend when it debuted in theaters and on HBO Max last Wednesday, making it the largest turnout for a movie since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, according to The New York Times.

The film, which is the latest installment in the cinematic Monsterverse, pits Godzilla and King Kong against each other as humans are caught in the balance.

The movie earned $239 million at the international box office for a total of $285 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Director Adam Wingard reacted to the news with a post on Instagram where he wrote, "Wow...I am so deeply moved and honored that my film is contributing to the return to theaters. The fact that Godzilla Vs Kong is simultaneously available on Hbo Max and we still saw such huge numbers in the cinemas is the ultimate vote by the people that we will never let the theatrical experience die."

The film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Jessica Henwick, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and newcomer Kaylee Hottle.

In March, Skarsgård revealed he learned American Sign Language while filming the movie when he found out his co-star, Hottle, was deaf. 

The young actress stars as Jia, who has a close bond with King Kong and can communicate with him via ASL.

"It's her first movie," Skarsgård told Australian pop culture website Junkee. "It's fascinating how comfortable she is in front of the camera and how quickly she takes notes from the director Adam. He'll explain something and she'll be like 'got it, got it' then she'll just do it and everyone's like 'the f— … how did she?' She's so professional and just incredibly … there's so much going on on her face, her expression and the subtleties of that is fascinating to watch."

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Hottle, who was raised in an all-deaf family, was 9-years-old when she filmed Godzilla vs. Kong and told the outlet she wasn't fazed by her first role on a major movie set.

"I kind of just go with the flow," she said, signing through an interpreter.

Hottle also revealed that big monster action films weren't exactly her cup of tea, preferring Disney films and TV shows and naming Bridge to Terabithia star Bailee Madison and A Quiet Place's Millie Simmonds as her inspirations.

"I think that it's important having deaf actors plays deaf characters," she signed. "Because deaf people are aware of their own language and they're more familiar with the culture."

Godzilla vs. Kong is now in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max until April 30.