UPDATE 3-'Godzilla' tramples rivals with monster $93 mln debut

Sun May 18, 2014 8:27pm EDT
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(Adds details on possible sequel paragraphs 1, 10)

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK May 18 (Reuters) - "Godzilla," a remake of the classic Japanese monster movie, crushed its box office competitors over the weekend, devouring $93.2 million in the United States and Canada for the year's second-biggest debut and spawning talk of a sequel.

The smashing performance makes the film a hit for Legendary Pictures, the independent studio headed by Thomas Tull that financed 75 percent of the $160 million production, and its partner Warner Bros., which said the new take on "Godzilla" was on its way to becoming a franchise.

The giant lizard trounced second-place finisher, Seth Rogen comedy "Neighbors," which led sales a week ago and earned $26 million from Friday through Sunday, ahead of superhero sequel "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" with $16.8 million, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.

"Godzilla" added $103 million in international markets where it opened on Wednesday for a global total of $195 million, said Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The movie is the latest Hollywood remake of the 1954 Japanese film about a mutant monster created when U.S. nuclear weapons testing goes awry.

The new film stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a naval officer who battles the rampaging beast from Hawaii to San Francisco.

"Godzilla" roared past industry forecasts which called for an opening of about $70 million. Its $93.2 million nipped at April's $95 million debut for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."   Continued...