'Godzilla vs Kong' brings surge in ticket sales

The American monster film 'Godzilla vs Kong' brought new hopes to the flailing cinema industry,

shattering domestic box office records since the global health crisis began.

In its opening weekend, it raked in $32 million - almost double that of the next highest opener "Wonder Woman 1984" in December.

That's despite it also being available on demand for HBO Max subscribers at no extra fee, though it is unclear how many have streamed it.

And while more than half the cinemas across the U.S. have already re-opened, many are still operating at a reduced capacity.

The Warner Brothers movie is the fourth in production company Legendary's so-called 'MonsterVerse', a shared cinematic universe featuring characters Godzilla and King Kong in separate movies.

The latest release is the first of this series in which the two are pitted against each other.

But like many other films, its release was delayed as cinemas shuttered last year.

David A. Gross, who runs the consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, says that the weekend ticket sales were 'strong despite still-difficult conditions'.

He says that while the numbers are half of what they would be under normal circumstances, it shows that the act of moviegoing isn't going away.

At the international box office, where "Godzilla vs. Kong" opened last weekend, revenues for the monster mashup have surpassed $236 million.