Weekend Report: 'Godzilla' is Box Office King
by Ray Subers
May 18, 2014
Godzilla reigned supreme at the box office this weekend, scoring one of the biggest debuts of the year so far.
Produced by Legendary Pictures and released by Warner Bros., the monster movie reboot earned an impressive $93.2 million at the domestic box office this weekend. It also opened in most overseas markets, which added up to over $103 million.
Godzilla's domestic debut ranks second in 2014: it wound up in between Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6 million). It also opened significantly higher than last Summer's World War Z ($66.4 million), and more-than-doubled Pacific Rim's $37.3 million.
It's also worth noting that Godzilla earned more in its first three days than Star Trek Into Darkness earned in its first four ($83.7 million) on the same weekend last year. It was also above 2011's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($90.2 million).
Godzilla's success this weekend can be attributed to some smart choices made by the Warner Bros. marketing department. Coming off last Summer's disappointing Pacific Rim, Warner Bros. opted to pitch Godzilla first-and-foremost as a disaster movie (instead of a monster movie). Advertisements hid the title character—and avoided even mentioning the other monsters—and instead put an emphasis on the human impact of large-scale destruction. Much of this was hung on Bryan Cranston's character, who was positioned as the movie's focal point; while that was very misleading, it was also highly effective.
Many moviegoers opted for premium-priced screenings of Godzilla. 3D showings accounted for 51 percent of revenue. Included in there is $14.1 million from IMAX, which is the biggest haul on those large-format screens so far this year.
The audience for Godzilla was 58 percent male, and 60 percent were 25 years of age or older. They awarded the movie a "B+" CinemaScore, which for this genre indicates mixed word-of-mouth. With tough competition from X-Men: Days of Future Past, it's going to take a big hit next weekend: still, it almost certainly has enough juice to end up over $230 million.
In second place, Neighbors fell 49 percent to $25.1 million. So far, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy has earned $90.6 million, and remains on track for a final total north of $150 million.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 plummeted 53 percent to $16.8 million, which brings its 17-day total to $172.2 million. With X-Men coming up, expect another steep drop over Memorial Day weekend; ultimately, the superhero sequel should inch past $200 million.
Playing at 3,019 locations, Million Dollar Arm took fourth place with a disappointing $10.5 million. Even by baseball movie standards, that's a poor debut: it's a little over half of Moneyball's $19.5 million, and also below 2012 flop Trouble with the Curve ($12.2 million). It is at least above last month's Draft Day ($9.8 million), though that's a very minor consolation.
The movie's audience was 54 percent male and 63 percent over the age of 25. They gave it a good "A-" CinemaScore. It should provide solid counterprograming over the next few weeks, though it would be surprising if it made it much higher than $30 million or so.
The Other Woman rounded out the Top Five with $6.3 million. To date, the Cameron Diaz comedy has earned an impressive $71.7 million.
Godzilla earned an estimated $103 million from 64 overseas markets this weekend. Warner Bros. reports that 51 percent of sales were from 3D showings.
The movie's biggest markets were the U.K. ($10.4 million) and Russia ($9.1 million), and it had the top opening of the year in Australia ($6.1 million). Other major territories included Mexico ($8.9 million), France ($6.5 million), Korea ($4.5 million), Brazil ($4.2 million), Italy ($3.6 million) and Spain ($1.6 million).
Godzilla opens in China in June, and then Japan in July. If it lives up to its potential in those two markets, it should wind up with over $400 million.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 added $31.5 million this weekend, which brings its foreign total to $461 million. That ranks first among 2014 releases ahead of Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($452.8 million). Even with X-Men opening everywhere this coming weekend, Spider-Man 2 should still be able to get past $500 million by the end of its run.
Neighbors took in $13.5 million this weekend. It fell hard in the U.K. and Australia, but held on nicely in Germany. To date, the Seth Rogen comedy has grossed $54.8 million overseas.
Frozen held on to first place in Japan for the 10th weekend in a row. It now ranks sixth all-time there with $179.6 million. On a worldwide basis, it passed $1.2 billion, and it should move up to fifth place ahead of Iron Man 3 ($1.215 billion) next weekend.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier reached $700 million worldwide this weekend. It's currently the highest-grossing 2014 release.
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This Weekend's Forecast:
• Forecast: 'Neighbors' Set to Party Hard Over Mother's Day Weekend
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2013 - 'Into Darkness' Boldly Goes Where 2009's 'Trek' Went Before
• 2012 - 'Battleship' Drowns Under Weight of 'Avengers'
• 2011 - 'Pirates' Rides Smaller 'Tides'
• 2010 - 'Alice' Tops Again, 'Diary', 'Bounty' Neck-and-Neck
• 2009 - 'Angels & Demons' Lights Up, 'Star Trek' Maintains Thrust
• 2008 - 'Narnia' Retreats with Sequel
• 2007 - 'Shrek' Reclaims Crown with Third Movie
• 2006 - 'Da Vinci' Almighty
• 2005 - Final 'Star Wars' is Box Office 'Revenge'
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic