Godzilla” (Warner Bros.) took in $38,525,000 yesterday, including just under $10 million in Thursday night shows, to qualify as the biggest opening day since “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” last November. Its unexpectedly big gross brought the Top 10 total to $61 million — $18 million above the same Friday last year. This reverses a two-week shortfall that, despite other strong May openers so far, suggested that the strong 2014 we’ve seen so far might be losing steam as we enter the summer season.
Godzilla has been around for six decades. The first American studio attempt at the monster, in 1998 from Sony, resulted in an inflation-adjusted worldwide total of $600 million, with two-thirds of the total coming from international (above average for that time). With a production budget of around $160 million for director Gareth Edwards’ 2014 reboot — an almost thrifty amount for the genre — this already looks like a major profit maker for Warner Bros. and partner Legendary Productions.
“Million Dollar Arm” (Buena Vista) came in at only #4 for the day with $3,460,000. Disney has been touting this baseball story, starring Jon Hamm as a scout who finds some unlikely prospects in India, as a potential crowd-pleasing sleeper. But its first day take fell just slightly short of what the recent, disappointing sports-themed “Draft Day” (Lionsgate) managed. Today’s figure will be an early indication for whether word-of-mouth could still turn this into, at least, a modest success — an easier prospect given the film’s low $25 million production cost.
At #2, “Neighbors” (Universal) added $8.4 million, down considerably from its $19.6 million total last Friday. Though clearly a success, this drop suggests that the film lacks the legs of recent comedy smashes like “Ted” and “Bridesmaids.” At #3, “The Amazing Spider-Man” (Sony) amassed $4.5 million, down over 50% from last week. As the film approaches a near-$160 million domestic so far, with $600 million worldwide, “Spider-Man” looks positioned to reach the totals needed to make the film a modest success.
The rest of the Top 10, all modest-at-best holdovers, was led by #5 “The Other Woman” (20th Century Fox) at just over $2 million, then a big falloff to #6 “Heaven Is for Real” (Sony) at $1.25 million; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Sony) hit just over $1 million at #7; “Rio 2” (20th Century Fox) landed at #8 with $865,000. Those four films, in varying stages of their runs, are all established successes.
The last two slots, though, go to underperforming second-week films, with Sony’s “Moms’ Night Out” grossing $620,000 for #9, and “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” (Clarius) managing only $469,000 for #10.