‘Godzilla’ Roars to Victory, Brings in $93M in First Weekend

godzilla, bryan cranston

As predicted, Godzilla crushed the competitors at the box office this week, taking in $93.1 million during its first weekend in theaters according to figures from Box Office Mojo, as the film benefited from both its summer blockbuster monster movie material and positive reviews from critics. The previous weekend’s number one movie, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron raunchy comedy Neighbors, fell 48.9 percent to make $25 million this weekend, a very distant second to Godzilla’s domination.

Box Office Mojo pointed out that some of the movie’s success comes from the decision to market it as a disaster film rather than a monster movie. The advertisements for the film barely showed Godzilla at all and instead focused on the human characters effected by mass destruction. The lead role was played by Bryan Cranston, who gained much popularity from his long-running starring role on Breaking Bad, which wrapped its final season earlier this year. While Cranston’s character wasn’t as much of a focal point as the movie’s marketing made it seem, his involvement certainly drew in fans of the actor.

Critics praised the film for achieving a delicate balance between masterful visuals of the legendary movie monster stomping on buildings and the human drama necessary to anchor the plot, with reviews aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes giving the movie a 73 percent fresh rating. “It’s a bracing tonic for the bored palate of the mainstream moviegoer, and one of the most intriguing big budget breakthrough films since Steven Spielberg made Jaws,” said Salon critic Andrew O’Hehir. “This is a movie of tremendous visual daring, magnificent special effects work, and surprising moral gravity.”

Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fell into third place, dropping 52.7 percent to make $16.8 million. The latest Spider-Man movie has been a disappointment both from a critical and a box office standpoint, as it seems audiences and critics alike have grown tired of too many Spider-Man films in recent years.

The other big opening movie of the weekend was Million Dollar Arm, an inspirational sports movie starring Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. The film roundly disappointed, even for the low standards set opposite the sure-fire hit Godzilla. Million Dollar Arm only made $10.5 million at the 3,019 locations at which it opened. The chick flick The Other Woman finished out the top five, making $6.3 million in its fourth week in theaters.

Godzilla will likely secede that top spot next weekend, though, with the premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past. X-Men has the advantages of being a comic book-based superhero movie and a big cast with more stars than Godzilla. X-Men’s star-studded cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman among others and the film is already getting great reviews. Of the 27 advance reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a 93 percent fresh rating, with critics calling it the best X-Men movie in the entire franchise.

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