"Godzilla" took a bite out of the competition at the box office this weekend, as the Bryan Cranston-led remake of the Japanese monster classic raked in $93.2 million for the second-largest opening of the year.
The monster box office total for "Godzilla" was just shy of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier's" $95 million haul last month, according to USA Today.
Rentrak's Paul Dergarabedian told USA Today that analysts only predicted an opening of about $70 million for "Godzilla," and noted that the film's debut now marks the largest opening ever for a monster movie.
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Disney's improbable baseball tale "Million Dollar Arm" was the second-highest debut this weekend, earning $10.5 million at the box office, according to Rentrak domestic movie estimates
. The total placed the John Hamm film fourth overall behind "Godzilla," "Neighbors" ($25.9 million), and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" ($16.8 million).
The new "Godzilla" appears to have overcome bad feelings left over from the 1998 reboot attempt of the franchise, which was scorched by critics. Tim Briody, of Box Office Prophets, wrote that the movie's debut
earned a 72 percent positive rating from the critic site Rotten Tomatoes.
"Despite bad memories about 'Godzilla' '98 and a virtual unknown in director Gareth Edwards, there was a good deal to be concerned with regarding its box office potential," Briody wrote. "This is a big win for Warner Bros. as it cost them a relatively reasonable $160 million and it stands a good chance of surpassing that by the end of Memorial Day weekend. Add in the worldwide grosses and this is an investment that will pay off."
Another challenge for Warner Bros. going into the film was that "Godzilla" the creature is well-worn movie territory. USA Today reported that the monster has now appeared in 28 Japanese movies and four American films. It was the marketing for the new Edwards' version that set the new "Godzilla" apart, according to Forbes' Scott Mendelson
"Gareth Edwards delivered the monster-mash goods and Warner Bros.' marketing did the rest," he wrote. "This was a film that pretty much everyone I knew — film nerds and 'regular folk' — wanted to see or were at least curious about. I can't exactly pretend that a big-budget remake of 'Godzilla' scoring huge is 'good for the industry' in any serious fashion, but again I'm always happy to see a well-marketed movie over-perform the pre-release expectations."
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