Godzilla, Gareth Edwards take on the TOHO King of Monsters, ruled the world a few months ago by topping box office charts everywhere. The film was the third biggest opening in the US so far this year (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction on $97.5 million and Captain America: The Winter Soldier on $95 million) grossing a whopping $93.1 million. Godzilla has since gone on to achieve $197 million in the US alone, and has performed exceptionally well all over the world.
All eyes were on the films most important release in terms of its origins, as Godzilla opened in Japanese cinemas this weekend, marking the final big territory for the film to be released. While no official numbers have been revealed, Godzilla is set to easily take top place in Japan, but has had some mixed reviews.
Japanese entertainment press typically reports weekend B.O. rankings on Monday and nationwide data only on Tuesday. But industry insiders posting on the popular 2-channel message board suggest that “Godzilla” should win its opening frame in its last major world territory to release.
Released in four different versions (2D sub-titled and dubbed, 3D subbed and dubbed) on 773 screens on Friday by local exhibition/distribution powerhouse Toho, the picture topped rankings at both online ticket sales sites and Tokyo area multiplexes.
According to one unofficial source, “Godzilla” sold a total of 70,009 tickets on Saturday, compared with 35,309 for second place “Maleficent” and 28,605 for third-place “The Eight Rangers 2,” the sequel to a hit 2012 superhero picture.
But posters on both Twitter and 2-channel also reported many empty seats at “Godzilla” screenings, with the blazing hot weather in much of Japan given as one reason.
Local predictions of the pic’s weekend take vary, but hover around the $5 million mark. Warner Bros, which co-financed the film with Legendary Pictures, and which handles the release in most other territories, is expected to release studio estimates on Sunday evening PST.
Online reviews in Japan have been mixed, with some complimenting Edwards for his faithfulness to the Japanese original, while others complain about the title star’s lack of on-screen time.
At Comic-Con this weekend, it was also confirmed that Edwards will return to direct the sequel, and that three monsters are expected to appear.