Godzilla was a monster hit this weekend, stomping its competition and earning $93.2 million to take first place at the box office, according to its distributor, Warner Brothers. This makes its debut weekend second only to Captain America: The Winter Warrior in 2014. Captain America: The Winter Warrior took in just $2 million more, raking in $95 million a month ago, despite Godzilla having the biggest opening day of 2014 at the box office on Friday.
There were early indications that Godzilla would gross $70 million its opening weekend, but the movie exceeded those expectations, trampling its competition underfoot. What’s more, worldwide, Godzilla earned an additional $103 million from 64 international markets. That’s definitely good news for Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures, as the film cost $160 million to produce. Legendary Pictures financed about 75 percent of the cost to produce it, and Warner Brothers chipped in the rest.
Domestically, Godzilla opened in 3,952 theaters, and was helped by both its strong 3-D take and how well it did at IMAX theaters. Approximately 51 percent of theater-goers who bought tickets for Godzilla spent the extra money to purchase 3-D tickets. Also, 15 percent of Godzilla‘s overall box office gross came from IMAX screens.
The audience for Godzilla was composed of 58 percent males, 42 percent females. Those over 25 made up the largest segment of the audience that went to see Godzilla, at 60 percent. At the Rotten Tomatoes site, Godzilla has a 72 percent “fresh” rating.
In 1954, Ishiro Honda was the first to put the 335-foot-tall monster, Godzilla, onto the Silver Screen. Godzilla has, since then, been in several other movies. In 1998, Roland Emmerich’s version of Godzilla, starring Matthew Broderick, earned $379 million worldwide, though it was not a favorite of critics, and it’s generally thought of as being the worst Godzilla movie ever made, especially by Japanese audiences.
This year’s take on Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron-Taylor Johnson as his son, is at least a step in the direction of cleansing the world’s collective mouth of the taste of the 1998 version of Godzilla. In it, Godzilla battles a monster that is a new addition to the foes Godzilla has fought over the decades, called M.U.T.O., which stands for a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism.
It will be difficult for Godzilla to continue its onslaught next weekend, as it will have to do battle with another movie that’s sure to be a blockbuster, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Still, Godzilla will likely continue to do well with international audiences. It won’t be out in Japan until July, when it will be released by Toho Pictures, the company that released the original Godzilla movie.
The flick that came in second place at the box ofice was the Seth Rogen and Zac Efron comedy vehicle, Neighbors. Though it dethroned The Amazing Spider-Man 2 last weekend with a &51 million take, this weekend the crowds that went to see it fell off almost 50 percent from its debut weekend. Shown in 3,311 theaters, Neighbors earned $26 million. Though its earnings dramatically fell off, the comedy has made back what it took back to produce it, so everything else it earns is profit.
Speaking of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony), it took third place at the box office this weekend. In 3,991 theaters, this Andrew Garfield/Emma Stone flick managed to earn $16.8 million. It doesn’t seem to be having the earning power as the other four Spider-Man movies have had, which is bad news for the franchise, especially as there’s another installment scheduled to come out in 2016, and yet another, just two years later, in 2018.
Fourth place was taken by the Buena Vista/Disney movie, Million Dollar Arm, staring Mad Men actor, Jon Hamm. It was shown in 3,019 theaters. Despite a fan acting job by Hamm and a strong supporting cast, for some reason the majority of theater-goers in America preferred to see a 335-foot-tall monster trampling Tokyo, rather than a film about incredible baseball prospects scouted from India.
The Other Woman (Tristar) came in fifth place, in 3,054 theaters, after coming in first place just four weeks ago. The movie stars Cameron Diaz. It’s the first of many movies starring Cameron Diaz that are due out in 2014.
Oddly enough, the biggest complaint of the fans who went to see Godzilla was that Godzilla wasn’t in the movie enough for their liking. However, this might be a plus, if there will be sequels to this Gereth Edwards-directed movie. Perhaps one reason that people went to see Godzilla had nothing to do with the CGI monster and the special effects of the film, but was out of curiosity to see how well Bryan Cranston would do. Early reports are that, while Cranston is, at times, over-emotive, he does a fine acting job in this action-packed thriller.
Written by: Douglas Cobb