The revival of an old franchise led to a stunning box office debut, kicking the already high-firing summer season up to a new level.
Friday Box Office Analysis
By Reagen Sulewski
May 17, 2014
The latest American remake of Godzilla debuted with a massive $38.5 million, with just a touch over $9 million of that coming from Thursday night sneaks. That's the single biggest day for a movie so far this year, surpassing both the Friday debuts of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier by a couple of million each. Those films each earned around 2.6 times that opening day figure for their weekend, so we can project this out to just shy of $100 million, though you can guarantee that Warner Brothers will not miss the opportunity to push an estimate over that mark if they can at all justify it.
This is a huge win whatever way you slice it, as early estimates prior to release had pegged this as a solid blockbuster in the $60-75 million range. Chalk this up to being one of the few blockbusters where reviews seemed to matter. While the initial previews were well done and enticing, there's little doubt that the Godzilla name is not one associated with high quality films, especially with the memory of Godzilla '98 still fresh in a lot of people's minds. Taking the material seriously, and producing a thoughtful monster movie that still had plenty of eye-candy has proven to be a master-stroke. Another big risk that seems to have paid off in spades is the hiring of director Gareth Edwards, who was handed the reins of this $160 million budgeted film based on little more than a calling card film. Here, he's produced something that's being mentioned in the same breath as films like Jaws, Aliens and Jurassic Park. Just let that sink in for a second.
Million Dollar Arm
The other new film on the weekend, Disney's Million Dollar Arm, started with a modest $3.46 million on Friday in fourth place. This pales some in comparison to other Disney sports movies, which debuted in the upper teens to low 20s, while this should come in with about $10 million. Disney also has a way of keeping these budgets low, and with only $25 million as an outlay, they should ultimately be fine. However, call this one a bit of a missed opportunity.
Neighbors, the surprise of last weekend, had a sizable Friday to Friday drop of about 57 per cent, with $8.4 million. This should translate into about $26 million for the weekend, which is a little troubling for a comedy. Any hopes of this becoming this summer's equivalent of The Hangover are probably gone, but it's a huge winner regardless.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 continued its run of significant drops, falling by 55 per cent and landing in third place. This weekend should see it wind up with about $15 million, and these steep drops should give Sony some pause about future installments and their direction.
The Other Woman is the leggiest film of the weekend, falling just 29 per cent to $2 million and sticking around in fifth spot. While the die is essentially cast on the film's bottom line, these later weekends, this one about $7 million, certainly do add to the film's reputation.
Two of last week's lesser lights, Mom's Night Out and Legends of Dorothy's Return, both dropped a little over 50 per cent and barely cracked the top 10. This is basically the last you'll hear either of these titles again.