The simultaneous theatrical & streaming premiere of Mortal Kombat has paid dividends for the HBO Max platform. Third-party metrics called it the most watched programming of the service's first year, and according to a WarnerMedia Executive the film was a stand-out for exceeding expectations. Read on for more detail:
IGN has conducted an interviewed with WarnerMedia Executive Vice President of Growth and Revenue Brad Wilson. He had a lot of corporate-speak to say amidst the uncertainty of a WarnerMedia & Discovery merger, but singled out Mortal Kombat for exceeding expectations for bringing in subscribers who've crossed over into the deeper content library.
Wilson: 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. It's been one of our top assets on the platform. 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.
Wilson also acknowledges that data collected from viewers informs future programming decisions, and although Mortal Kombat didn't please every diehard fan, its metrics have proven incredibly positive. He also notes the success of movies has challenged conventional wisdom, eschewing the expectation that "movies bring them in and series keep them" with a chain of theatrical releases producing the same result.
There's no official indications of a Mortal Kombat sequel yet, but director Simon McQuoid was quick to discuss ideas, and various actors have begun chasing the baked-in role of Johnny Cage. Rumors are also swirling of a likely animated sequel to Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge.
IGN: When you're looking at how well something like Mortal Kombat performs, how does that impact conversations you might have with the content licensing and acquisitions teams? When you're looking at these kinds of figures, how does that impact how you're thinking about future IP and actively developing more of that specifically for Max?
Wilson: 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. We partner very frequently with Meredith Gertler (manager of content strategy and planning at HBO Max) and her team to talk through what that looks like from all the lanes — kids and family to young adult to scripted and unscripted. 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.
Live-action series Mortal Kombat: Conquest was added to the streaming service in April along with the other MK films. What have you been watching? Share your HBO Max favourites in the comments below and tell us what you'd like to see next in the Media & Merchandise forum!