The King of the Monsters was the king of the North American box office this weekend, as Godzilla opened at a big #1 with $93.2 million. If estimates hold, that is the second-biggest opening of 2014, after Captain America: The Winter Soldier (with $95 million).
Although it did not break this year’s opening weekend record, Godzilla did give 2014 its biggest opening day. The film made $38.5 on Friday (an estimated $9.3 million of that came from late Thursday shows). It dipped 17 percent to $32.2 on Saturday and is slated to fall another 30 percent to make $22.5 million on Sunday. Critics and audiences were mostly happy with the big-budget monster mash as well, the latter giving it a B+ CinemaScore.
Godzilla surpassed industry expectations for the $160 million production, which had estimated the film would debut in the $70-million range. Although the opening was big, Gareth Edwards’ take on the creature sold only slightly more tickets than Roland Emmerich’s reviled 1998 take on the monster did in its opening weekend – and that film burned off demand by opening on a Wednesday. To sell more tickets than Emmerich’s dud, this re-imagining will need to gross more than $250 million, which could be hard due to big competition from X-Men: Days of Future Past next week.
On the bright side, though, Godzilla did have the biggest worldwide opening of the year, making $103 million internationally, for a $196.2 million worldwide cume. It had the biggest opening ever for a monster film (besting The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and for a disaster flick (destroying The Day After Tomorrow‘s take). IMAX grosses state-side were also sizzling, with $14.1 million of its weekend take coming from 352 locations (or, over $40,000 per big-screen auditorium). 3D surcharges were also stronger than usual, coming in with 51 percent of the weekend’s total gross.
Dropping to second place was Neighbors, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron comedy. It lost close to half of its audience from its big opening last week, making $26 million, a 47 percent drop. The film has already made its $18 million budget back five times over, though, and has a $91.5 cume so far.
Although it is doing very well, Neighbors is not benefitting from the word-of-mouth that other leggy comedies hits have had – even against big-budget competitors. Bridesmaids only dropped 20 per cent against Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which also opened to more than $90 million on the third weekend of May. Meanwhile, 21 Jump Street and Ted had better second-weekend holds (against openers The Hunger Games and The Amazing Spider-Man, respectively). A good goal for Neighbors would be hitting $150 domestically, which would surpass Knocked Up to become Rogen’s biggest live-action grosser.