Earlier today, Warner Bros. pushed the release date of Mortal Kombat back one week. The movie, the first new live-action installment in the franchise in years, was set to release on April 16 but will instead debut in theaters and on HBO Max on April 23. Given that rapidly accelerating rate of theater openings, this gives Mortal Kombat a solid chance at making real money at the box office...but on top of that, it promises to make WarnerMedia money on home streaming platforms as well, as the decision to delay Mortal Kombat now means that anybody who signed up for HBO Max just to see Zack Snyder's Justice League will have to renew that membership in order to see Mortal Kombat for free.
No official reason was given for the move, although it was easy to assume that it was designed to wait on more theater screens as well as giving both Zack Snyder's Justice League and Godzilla vs. Kong a bit more room to breathe. Now, though, it could be plausible to think the enormous new streaming numbers that HBO Max enjoyed following the release of the Justice League director's cut, might be part of the math here. Getting another $8.99 from everybody who came on rather than seeing them disappear after the first month would look great for the fledgling streaming platform on paper.
In Mortal Kombat, MMA fighter Cole Young, accustomed to taking a beating for money, is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld's Emperor Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior, Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt Cole down. Fearing for his family's safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors Liu Kang, Kung Lao and rogue mercenary Kano, as he prepares to stand with Earth's greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe. But will Cole be pushed hard enough to unlock his arcana — the immense power from within his soul—in time to save not only his family, but to stop Outworld once and for all?
Directed by Simon McQuoid and produced by James Wan, Mortal Kombat represents the first blockbuster release from the franchise in decades, in spite of the fact that the games and related merchandising have made Mortal Kombat one of WarnerMedia's premiere brands. Recently, a feature-length animated film centering on the character of Scorpion was released direct to home release.