4TH UPDATE, FRIDAY, 7:15 AM: Godzilla is a monster with late-night grosses tallying a sizeable $9.3M on more than 3,400 screens, coming in much bigger than expected. Of that number, $2.1M came from IMAX screens. In comparison, Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a late-night tally of $10.2M and went on to gross $95M in its opening weekend. Godzilla won’t get near that after the three-day weekend, but I expect its opening to go well over $70M — even to $80M — with a strong night tonight. Stay tuned as it rolls out today. Its midnights on the West Coast were said to be the big get.
3rd UPDATE, THURSDAY 9:44 PM: I know it’s early still, but we’re hearing that Godzilla may be exceeding expectations tonight in late-night bows and will end up north of $6M in the AM … perhaps more like $8M-$10M. Excellent news for Warner Bros. (which has one of the best distribution teams in town) and for Legendary Pictures and their principals Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni as well as Mary Parent and Brian Rogers. Kudos, too, to director Gareth Edwards. The teaser marketing campaign took a page right out of the Steven Spielberg book of letting the actors’ reaction shots tell the tail … er, I mean tale. The Fiat promo spot is pretty funny as well with the disclaimer that says something along the lines of “didn’t actually happen” as the monster coughs up the car.
Checking in on social media, Godzilla stands at No. 3 across the social media universe in May with combined YouTube, Facebook and Twitter activity behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men, according to RelishMix, which tracks social engagement of the Big Three. “Star Bryan Cranston’s 1.6M FB and 1.3M Twitter followers, while not monstrous, is promoting the film heavily as is Elisabeth Olsen,” says CEO Marc Karzen, who added that fans are posting Godzilla YouTube trailers as well as reviews and spoof clips at a earned:owned ratio of 9 to 1 with a lighter footprint of international clips. In other words, the fanboys have arrived.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Godzilla’
2ND UPDATE, THURSDAY, 4:07 PM: As the Lizard bows tonight in for the fanboys, Godzilla is bowing in 64 countries internationally as well on more than 15,500 screens and numbers are rolling in already from seven of those markets. In Australia, early estimates from Rentrak shows that it has Neighbors squarely out of the way to gross $1.2M from about 248 sites and command a 66% marketshare of the top 5 films. In France where local fare has been the first choice for moviegoers, it grossed $1.6M from 152.5K admissions on 596 screens, displacing local comedies, including the comedy Qu’Est-ce Qu’On A Fait Au Bon Dieu?! which has been a local phenom. Not hard to do as it’s been out there awhile, but Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ tentpole now has 49% of the top 5 in marketshare now. Belgium grabbed $167K on 87 screens as did the French-speaking side of Switzerland with $46K on 29 screens; it also took the No. 1 spot in Sweden, Norway and Finland. It will continue to trounce across such major territories as Germany, Spain, Italy, the U.K., Russia, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico and we will update numbers as they become available.
PREVIOUSLY, THURSDAY, 12:24 PM: Godzilla is stomping into more than 3,000 theaters tonight at 7 PM and its late nights will be front-loaded with fanboys who will love the Imax and 3D versions. Tonight’s gross will be indicative of what the monster’s haul will be for the three-day weekend. If it makes, say, more than $6M, odds are that the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures tentpole will move past $60M-$65M to closer to $70M+. Hard to predict until we see tonight’s take. The franchise pic, not surprisingly, already had $1.5M in ticket sales by 9 AM this morning and, according to Fandango, is outselling Thor: The Dark World, World War Z and Pacific Rim. “We are selling twice as many tickets as we sold in the same point of the sales cycle of Pacific Rim,” said Fandango’s Harry Medved. About 91% of the weekend ticket sales are going to the lizard, which really is expected. Pacific Rim, also from Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures, opened to $37.2M on July 12, 2013.
The cool thing about Godzilla is that is still going strong 60 years after the creature’s movie debut. The first film premiered in 1954 in Japan and then made it to the mainland and spawned a flurry of cheaply budgeted sequels. Not this time. The negative cost of this film is estimated to be $195M or so (those with a vested interest in it say it’s $160M so perhaps they got some kind of tax benefit?) now as Hollywood grabs hold of it again. It’s also got ahold of a big chunk of Spidey’s demographic, but I figure those who really wanted to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have already seen it as it’s in its third weekend out.Also opening wide this weekend is Disney’s Million Dollar Arm, which didn’t hit in sneaks last weekend and not much is expected from it now. Disney snuck it out on Saturday in 416 theaters in hope of building word-of-mouth, but audiences don’t seem to be sparking to this Cool Runnings-type of baseball pic. Meanwhile, last weekend’s box office hero Neighbors, which grabbed $49M in its opening, is expected to have a fairly decent hold and might take in around $23M-$25M. Chef, which enjoyed a solid play in only six theaters last weekend with $34K+ per screen, is expanding to 72 this weekend. The other opener is The Immigrant, which has a very strong cast from The Weinstein Company with Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard.