AT&T’s John Stankey Talks ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ and HBO Max AVOD Plans

An epic battle between two movie icons has helped provide proof of concept for AT&T’s larger strategy for WarnerMedia.

AT&T chief John Stankey, speaking Thursday during the company’s first quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts, pointed to the performance of Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” on HBO Max and at the box office over the past three weeks as signs that the bold strategy of simultaneous releases in theaters and on the streaming platform is working.

The rollout of WB movies to date has “provided theaters with a steady flow of content and has been a great catalysts for growth at HBO Max,” Stankey told analysts

“Godzilla vs. Kong” has led the U.S. box office for the past three weeks — albeit without much in the way of competition at the multiplexes — and it has captured what Stankey described as HBO Max’s “largest audience” since the movie bowed on March 31. The movie has grossed $80 million domestically to date in theaters and is expected to be the first movie released during the pandemic to reach the $100 million threshold.

Although WarnerMedia roiled the waters in Hollywood with its groundbreaking plan for the studio’s 2021 release slate, Stankey hailed the decision as driving to AT&T’s larger goal of using marquee value content from WarnerMedia to help draw customers for its wireless telephone and broadband services. The volume of movies and TV shows offered under the HBO Max umbrella has proven to be attractive to customers in need of telephone and data services.

“Our aim is to use our differentiated premium content offering to attract global customers,” he said. 

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