Coming out the gate today with $93 million in its opening weekend, the 2nd highest debut of the year, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. are feeling mighty good about “Godzilla.” In fact, in today’s box-office piece we said this mighty opening essentially guarantees a sequel. And yep, that’s the case. Legendary & WB looked at the receipts, plus the international ones that added a $103 million for almost a $200 million worldwide opening weekend and said to each other, “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Duh, of course they are (btw, it’s international debut is the biggest of 2014).
Wait, thinking this is premature and they haven’t seen the 2nd week numbers? Well, announcing your intentions to make a sequel after one boffo weekend really only just boosts awareness of your product and its early success, so in many ways, it’s also a savvy marketing move – “Wow, I haven’t even seen ‘Godzilla’ yet, but it did so well, they already announced a sequel.” No writer or director hired yet? No problem, they can just sit and wait and see if the box-office will be worth it in the end, and frankly, it pretty much already is.
This is terrific news for British director Gareth Edwards, even if he doesn’t direct the sequel (and frankly, hopefully he moves on to other things). Having only directed a super low-budget monster movie (“Monsters”) that was really more about two strangers on journey from Mexico to the U.S. amidst a backdrop of a world where roaming monsters are out there somewhere, Edwards made one of the biggest leaps in the history of movies, even wider and bigger than Marc Webb’s jump from the rom com world of “500 Days Of Summer” to the first “The Amazing Spider-Man” movie. To boot, Edwards film was better and beat it both in opening weekend and critical respect.
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Legendary’s deal with Warner is over and they’ve moved on to working with Universal as distribution partners, but because “Godzilla” was released by WB, they have dibs moving forward. And you can bet since Legendary already severed ties, they’d love to take “Godzilla” with them, but that’s unfortunately not gonna happen – and no, the unknown Legendary 2016 film isn’t the monster sequal, it’s over at Universal, so will be something entirely different. “Godzilla” is also the highest IMAX opener of the year (15%) and its 3D numbers were also healthy (51% of the gross internationally).
Edwards showed excellent VFX, scope and monster chops with “Godzilla,” and the action was the least of the movie’s problems (read our review). Let’s just hope moving forward they don’t kill off the best human characters and or hand off the film to the most dull, bland and underwritten character. [Deadline]