Weekend Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Earns $196 Million Worldwide, Smashes Expectations

Senior Editor
05.19.14 26 Comments

See, I could’ve written “crushes” expectations in the headline, but I figure the world doesn’t need another monster pun.

Anyway, now that the dust has settled (sorry) on the weekend, we know that Heisenberg Vs. The Kaijus has out performed Warner’s wildest expectations, earning $196 million worldwide, including $93.2 million in the US for the second biggest opening this year behind Captain America. Most guesses had it coming in in the $70 million range. 3D accounted for 51 percent of the gross. For comparison, Pacific Rim opened to just $37.3 million last July. Probably because the monsters in that one couldn’t say BAAANAAAAAA! That’s important.


But the opening figure itself is a marketing triumph by the Dream Factory, as this is the second successful new franchise that Warner Bros. has launched just this year after the $460 million-grossing The LEGO Movie. […] The teasers and trailers promised a grand-scale and dead-serious monster film, with an emphasis on human characters (Bryan Cranston’s crazed scientist and Ken Watanabe’s tormented scientist specifically) and just enough creature footage and destructo-carnage to wet appetites without giving away the store. [Forbes]

Oh great, as if a place calling itself “The Dream Factory” needs more reason to pat themselves on the back.

Godzilla‘s success this weekend can be attributed to some smart choices made by the Warner Bros. marketing department. Coming off last Summer’s disappointing Pacific Rim, Warner Bros. opted to pitch Godzilla first-and-foremost as a disaster movie (instead of a monster movie). Advertisements hid the title character—and avoided even mentioning the other monsters—and instead put an emphasis on the human impact of large-scale destruction. [BoxOfficeMojo]

I don’t know about disaster movie vs. monster movie (a lot of the marketing for Pacific Rim looked pretty damn similar), but as I said in my review, the major difference between the two was that Godzilla made the monsters, big whereas Pacific Rim mainly made the people small. Not that Godzilla was a great movie, but the subtle adjustment in perspective went a long way. The marketing didn’t show much, and it paid off. Funny when the Interstellar trailer hit people were moaning that they still didn’t know what the movie was about. Trailers aren’t for summary, they’re just supposed to make you want to see it.

The other new movie this week was Million Dollar Arm, which earned just $10.5 million, proving that the country’s appetite for Indian-themed baseball movies has waned somewhat since Major League. Million Dollar Arm managed barely half Moneyball‘s opening ($19.5 million) and even fell short of Trouble With The Curve ($12.2), though both titles make excellent references to Jon Hamm’s penis.

Next week brings us X-Men: Days of Future Past and Blended, the Adam Sandler movie with Drew Barrymore. On the one hand, it looks so awful that the trailer actually started with Drew Barrymore vomiting French onion soup, but on the other hand, the fact that it’s set in Africa means it has the potential to be incredibly racist.


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