“Godzilla vs. Kong,” one of the few tentpoles to dare release during COVID times, is poised this weekend to set a new high in ticket sales during the pandemic. It won’t be the kind of blockbuster business such a big-budget release would typically manage, but experts forecast a launch of at least $25 million.

Opening-day ticket sales on Wednesday for “Godzilla vs. Kong” totaled $9.6 million, Warner Bros. said Thursday — a single-day pandemic record and more than most 2020-2021 opening weekend hauls. Last weekend, the monster mash pulled in an impressive $123.1 million internationally. In China, where moviegoing is close to pre-pandemic levels, the movie made about $70 million, double the debut of 2014′s “Godzilla.”

Huge challenges remain to the revival of moviegoing. With so many cinemas shuttered for nearly an entire year, many moviegoers are out of the habit. Some are unlikely to return to sitting indoors with strangers until they’re vaccinated or the pandemic has ebbed. And even those who have been convinced of the safety of moviegoing by theaters’ health protocols, they now have only more in-home options. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is streaming simultaneously on HBO Max in North America.

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