Godzilla a monster of a hit at the world's box office

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:08pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:09pm


The latest remake of classic monster flick Godzilla stormed straight to the top of the global box office at the weekend, raising prospects of lucrative sequels to the Japanese dinosaur-like behemoth.

The movie, in which Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston plays the tortured Japanese-speaking scientist battling to save humanity, scored a killer US$93.2 million on its opening weekend in North America, and more than twice that globally.

The latest incarnation of the 1954 classic, which also stars Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche as well as Britons Sally Hawkins and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, continues the original’s exploration of the threat of nuclear disasters.

The US$160 million budget movie, in which Godzilla does battle with two giant and long-dormant creatures that feed off radioactivity, pushed raunchy comedy Neighbors to a distant second place.

“This has a potential to be Warner’s newest tentpole franchise,” said Jeff Bock of box office trackers Exhibitor Relations, using industry-speak for mega-budget blockbuster movies, crucial to studios’ financial success.

Warner Bros, which could use a new dependable franchise after the end of the Harry Potter series, is already working on a sequel to Godzilla, according to industry journal Variety, which said the film made nearly US$200 million globally at the weekend.

Jon Jashni, head and chief creative officer of Legendary Pictures, the production company that works with Warner Bros, said the smash box office debut was important.

“It’s very validating,” he told Variety. “You can’t ask for a better situation when you have a group of people who were perhaps expecting to be let down, were impressed.

Screenwriter Max Borenstein defended the movie’s decision to delay the moment when the star of the show appears on screen – likening it to the tension built up in 1975 shark attack classic Jaws.

“There was something great about the suspense that was built up when you didn’t see Jaws in the full until the end of the film,” he said.

Godzilla left its box office rivals trailing way behind.

Universal Pictures’ Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne living next door to a raucous fraternity house, earned US$25.1 million.

In third place, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took in US$16.8 million for a total $172 million in the three weeks since its release.

Another newcomer, Million Dollar Arm, finished in the fourth spot. The film starring Jon Hamm, a true story about a Major League Baseball agent who goes to India to find the next big thing among cricket players, had ticket sales of US$10.5 million.