'Godzilla' tramples rivals with monster $93 million debut
By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (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."
Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., said the film played well in all markets, which boded well for more Godzilla films.
"We have a franchise in the making, and we're looking at sequels as we speak," Fellman said. Continued...