THE NEWEST ENTRY may emerge as the mother (if not Mothra) of all latter-day Godzilla films. But the latest lizard king still couldn’t quite topple Marvel.
Buoyed by high fanboy interest and major IMAX sales, Godzilla proved to be a virile property as he turns 60. The radioactive reptile stomped early expectations by grossing $93.2-million in “Godzilla’s” domestic debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, helping scorch all memory of Roland Emmerich’s underwhelming take on the monster nearly 16 years ago.
Still, as of Saturday, “Godzilla” — starring Bryan Cranston, eye-popping CGI and a wealth of low crane shots — was threatening to have the biggest bow-in of the year. The fire-breathing film star (Godzilla, not Cranston — despite memories of blue meth) torched the opening-day box office with the biggest Friday of the year with $38.5 million.
Ultimately, though, the Warner Bros./Legendary remake couldn’t take down the year’s biggest domestic opener, Disney/Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which debuted last month with a take of $96.2-million (an all-time April record, and the 11th-best opening ever for a superhero film).
As the summer film season heats up, it’ll be a battle to see which is the year’s first blockbuster to top $100-million in its debut. Up next weekend to take a crack at it: the hotly anticipated “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
FUN WITH NUMBERS
* This “Godzilla” set a May-debut record for a Warner Bros. film. It also marks the end of an oft-fruitful partnership between WB and Legendary that launched in 2005 with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy kick-starter, “Batman Begins.”
* Gareth Edwards’s “Godzilla” had the biggest North American opening ever for a creature feature (not adjusted for inflation), according toBoxOfficeMojo.com, easily leaving its scaly cousins of the Jurassic Park film “The Lost World” ($72.1-million) in its wake. Sony’s 1998 “Godzilla” had the sixth-biggest such opening ever with $44-million (dating back to creature features since 1982).
* WB/Legendary smartly marketed its film largely as a disaster pic, and “Godzilla” goes down as the biggest domestic debut for a disaster flick (not adjusted for inflation), topping Emmerich’s “The Day After Tomorrow” ($68.7-million).
* The newest Godzilla — who also co-stars alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Elizabeth Olsen and David Strathairn — is also now the biggest CGI star in a live-action film, topping “Avatar” ($77-million), according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
* “Godzilla” has grossed $102-million overseas, pushing its global total to $196.2-million.