Godzilla made a monster-sized return to the big screen this weekend, banking over $93 million for a number one opening. It's by far the highest opening of the year so far for a non-comic book sequel and second only this year to Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $95 million opening.
This opening start dwarfs the last major Godzilla flick, Roland Emmerich's version which opened at $37 million back in 1998. Even taking into consideration ticket price hikes and 3D sales, it's a step up for the long running giant radioactive beast franchise. It's almost as much as the $101 million that Guillermo del Toro's monster sci-fi action offering Pacific Rim earned during it's entire domestic run.
WARNING... IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN GODZILLA AND DON'T WANT IT SPOILED, SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH
The movie's success may have hinged on its misleading marketing, which leaned heavily on the idea that Bryan Cranston was a major and pivotal character. Cranston's recent Breaking Bad popularity certainly gave the movie some dramatic credibility which may have drawn audiences that would otherwise have waited to see the movie or passed on it altogether. To be fair, the movie is still a great example of the genre with or without him, but the fact that he figures prominently in every single trailer but then disappears in the first act of the film could have backfired if the movie hadn't held up.
The latest made-by-Disney-feel-good-based-on-a-true-story-sports movie Million Dollar Arm fizzled, taking in just $10 million dollars against a $25 million production budget for a number four opening. That's the lowest opening in a long time for one of Disney's sports flicks and well below the more recent baseball drama Moneyball which opened at $19 million in 2011.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 continues to fall further behind the past four major Spider-man movies. Now in its 17th day, it's domestic total sits at $172 million. All the previous films had crossed the $200 million mark by this point in their release. Thanks to strong international sales the franchise isn't going to walk away without a profit, but it's clear that American audiences are losing some interest.
For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below: