Box Office: Godzilla Reigns Supreme With Biggest Opening Of 2014

Predicting what will finish #1 at the box office during the summer is sort of like predicting the winners on Oscar night. After a while, it just becomes to easy to say what will open in first place. The bigger challenge is trying to predict just how much money a summer release will make in its opening weekend.

Sixteen years after the last Godzilla, a Roland Emmerich misfire of epic proportions (and a total misuse of Ferris Beuller and The Professional), Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures decided that enough dust had settled to try it again. So they unleash an estimated $160 million film that was shepherd by man whose debut feature cost less than $1 million. The gamble paid off in a big way, because the King of the Monsters netted the biggest international opening of 2014 with $103 million. And in the States it took the #1 spot with $93 million. As for last week’s top finisher, Neighbors had a 47% drop to finish with close to $26 million to bring its two-week total to $91.5 million. Not bad for a feature comedy that cost $18 million and probably not more than $60 million in ad costs. Overseas, it continues to play to good numbers with $54 million so far.

Sticking with overseas, that’s where The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will make most of its dough. While a $172 million domestic total looks nice, it’s not when you know the overall cost to produce and advertise TASM2 cost in the vicinity of $450 million. That’s where international totals will help. Overseas the film has made $461 million (or nearly 73% of its overall gross).

Million Dollar Arm was the other big new release of the weekend and was meant for counterprogramming against Godzilla. While it was, it might as well been a Hawaiian tourist scampering away. Disney, the studio that seems to be a sports movie-making factory ever since Remember the Titans hit it big, tried to combine Jerry Maguire with baseball and a game show. Standard formula in terms of character and outcome, yet the film was mostly about a sports agent and not with what the title implies. D’oh! Nevertheless, it finished with $10.5 million. Which isn’t bad considering it cost a reported $25 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if this release plays well in India, considering its two non-American stars starred in Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire.

The rest of the box office was typical with holdovers from weeks past. Heaven is for Real continues to be one of those sleeper hits of the year with $82.2 million after five weeks. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is inching ever close to surpassing The Lego Movie as the #1 domestic release of 2014. Still in the top ten after seven weeks, it has made $250.6 million (plus another $452.8 million internationally).

In limited release the stories of the weekend were the expansions of Fox Searchlight’s Belle and Open Road’s Chef. For Belle it went from 45 to 173 screens and collected $960,000 ($5,549 per screen). Even better was the performance of Jon Favreau’s Chef. Adding 66 locations to bring its screen total to 72 the comedy had a 258.1% increase to finish with $734,000 ($10,194 per screen).

For new films opening in limited release, The Weinstein Company’s The Immigrant had the second-best per-screen average of the weekend (behind heavy-hitter Godzilla) with $15,133 per screen (it played on a total of three screens to the tune of $45,400). Cohen Media’s Chinese Puzzle and Quadratic Media’s The Discovers opened to $24.2k and $8k, respectively.

A complete breakdown of the top ten can be found below.

01. Godzilla – $93,205,000
02. Neighbors – $25,991,000 ($91,517,000)
03. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $16,800,000 ($172,170,000)
04. Million Dollar Arm – $10,511,000
05. The Other Woman – $6,300,000 ($71,664,000)
06. Heaven is for Real – $4,400,000 ($82,249,000)
07. Rio 2 – $3,800,000 ($118,051,000)
08. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $3,759,000 ($250,627,000)
09. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – $1,952,000 ($6,559,000)
10. Moms’ Night Out – $1,900,000 ($7,327,000)

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