NORTH AMERICA: Studio Estimates: 'Godzilla' Demolishes Expectations with $93.2M Debut

on May 18, 2014


Sunday Update: Warner's Godzilla was off to a huge start this weekend with an estimated first place debut of $93.2 million. The highly anticipated and well received sci-fi action remake outpaced expectations (which had ranged anywhere from $65 million to $80 million) in a very big way this weekend. Godzilla delivered the second largest opening weekend of 2014 to date, as it debuted just below the $95.02 million start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and just ahead of the $91.61 million start of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The film opened an impressive 18 percent stronger than the $79.20 million debut of fellow sci-fi re-launch Star Trek back in May of 2009. In addition to a very effective marketing campaign and strong critical reviews, Godzilla was also likely aided from the performance of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 having left a lot left to be desired his month.

Godzilla opened with $38.53 million on Friday (which included an estimated $9.3 million from Thursday evening), fell 16.5 percent on Saturday to take in $32.17 million and is estimated to decline 30 percent on Sunday to gross $22.52 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.42 to 1. While that ratio does indicate early front-loading, this weekend's front-loading was understandable given the film's over-performance and it is still very possible the film will stabilize going forward given its strong critical reviews. The film received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (60 percent) and towards male moviegoers (58 percent).

Godzilla grossed an estimated $14.1 million from 352 IMAX locations this weekend. That represented 15.1 percent of the film's overall gross this weekend. 3D grosses represented 51 percent of the film's overall gross.

Universal's Neighbors placed in second with an estimated $26.0 million. The break-out comedy starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne was down a significant, but understandable 47 percent from last weekend's stronger than expected start. The rush-out of Efron fans and Rogen fans last weekend and the larger than expected debut of Godzilla both affected Neighbors this weekend. In the bigger picture Neighbors continues to impress in a very big way, especially with both cost and expectations in mind. Neighbors has grossed $91.53 million through ten days of release. That leaves the film just $8.47 million away from reaching the $100 million domestic milestone and places it 39 percent ahead of the $65.87 million ten-day start of 2007's Knocked Up. Neighbors will soon face new direct competition from the release of fellow comedies Blended (this coming Friday) and A Million Ways to Die in the West (on May 30).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 claimed third place this weekend with an estimated $16.8 million. Sony's expensive superhero sequel was down a sharp 53 percent from last weekend, as continued underwhelming word of mouth and the stronger than expected launch of Godzilla both took a toll this weekend. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has grossed $172.17 million in 17 days, as it continues to perform on the very low end of pre-release expectations. The film is currently running 2.5 percent ahead of the $167.92 million 17-day take of last year's Thor: The Dark World and 16 perecnt behind the $200.50 million 17-day take of Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this year. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is likely to take another significant hit next weekend with Fox's highly anticipated superhero film X-Men: Days of Future Past entering the marketplace on Friday.

Disney's Million Dollar Arm debuted in fourth place with an estimated $10.51 million. Despite growing buzz in the weeks leading up to its release, the baseball drama starring Jon Hamm debuted on the very low end of expectations. Potential for Million Dollar Arm appears to have been limited both by opening against Godzilla and from the film's critical reviews being mixed. The opening weekend performance of Million Dollar Arm was quite similar to the recent $9.78 million debut of Draft Day. Going forward, Million Dollar Arm will hope to hold up significantly better than Draft Day has.

Million Dollar Arm opened with $3.46 million on Friday, increased 24.5 percent on Saturday to gross $4.31 million and is estimated to fall 36 percent on Sunday to gross $2.74 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.04 to 1. Million Dollar Arm received an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore.  The audience breakdown for Million Dollar Arm skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (73 percent) and towards male moviegoers (54 percent). Family audience made up 28 percent of the film's overall audience.

Fox's The Other Woman rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $6.3 million. The comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton was down 34 percent. That represented a strong weekend hold, especially since last weekend's performance was inflated a bit my Mother's Day. The Other Woman continues to outpace expectations with a 24-day take of $71.66 million.

Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports that Godzilla stormed the box office on Friday for $38.53 million, giving it the best opening day of any film so far in 2014. That figure includes $9.3 million from Thursday shows and $6.2 million from IMAX screenings. BoxOffice currently projects a $98 million weekend based on yesterday's business, which would give it the best debut of the year up to this point (Captain America: The Winter Soldier currently holds that title with $95 million).

Early word of mouth looks mostly positive with an 80 percent Flixster score as of Saturday morning, although the film's reported CinemaScore was a modest "B+". Regardless, the opening validates one of the most effective, and impressive, marketing campaigns to come along in awhile. WB wisely sold the film as a character-driven disaster flick rather than a straight-up creature feature, and the dividends are paying huge as mainstream audiences connected with the reboot on a level that few saw coming. Where legs go from here will depend on the aforementioned word of mouth, as well as immediate competition from X-Men: Days of Future Past (opening next week).

Meanwhile, Disney's Million Dollar Arm posted $3.46 million in its debut yesterday. BoxOffice projects a $10.8 million weekend from there. The Jon Hamm-led baseball drama was expected to open modestly well, while staying power is the name of the game as Disney hopes buzz for the film spreads through and beyond Memorial Day weekend. For now, the opening is in line with recent sports-centric flicks Draft Day ($9.8 million opening weekend) and Trouble with the Curve ($12.2 million).

Friday Update #3: Sources tell BoxOffice that Godzilla is heading for an opening somewhere in between $85 million-$90 million. 

Check back tomorrow for official figures. 

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Godzilla is headed for a debut between $80 million-$85 million based on early data. That's a very healthy start for the monster flick.

Disney's Million Dollar Arm looks to be on its way to $11 million or so. The sports flick should go far on word of mouth and it's bound to hold up well in the week's to come. 

Check back tomorrow for official studio estimates and updated weekend projections. 

Friday Update #1: According to Warner Bros., Godzilla snagged an impressive $9.3 million from Thursday evening shows beginning at 7pm. $2.1 million of that haul came from IMAX screenings.

For comparison, that opening figure tops The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug's $8.8 million midnight launch last December (which went on to earn $73.6 million over opening weekend), as well as the $3.6 million haul of Pacific Rim's 10pm shows ($37.3 million weekend) and World War Z's $3.6 million from 8pm shows (onward to a $66.4 million weekend).

The larger-than-expected opening for Godzilla introduces an even wider range of possible outcomes for the weekend as a whole. Gareth Edwards' well-reviewed reboot has tracked particularly well among men, indicating the possibility of a frontloaded Thursday/Friday. However, early word of mouth after a strong marketing campaign suggests the flick could transcend its fan-driven audience early on.

Check back later today for initial Friday projections.

Tags: north-america, Godzilla, Million Dollar Arm

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