Weekend Predictions: Godzilla will be Huge, but How Huge?

Godzilla poster

Godzilla is the second of four May releases that at least have a realistic shot at reaching $200 million domestically. The first of these films, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 won't match original expectations, but it is still on pace to reach $200 million. It is very unlikely Godzilla will open as fast as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did, but even coming close would be a huge boost to the box office. Million Dollar Arm should have a respectable opening as counter-programming and on the high end it could land in third place. Meanwhile, Neighbors is aiming for $100 million and while it won't get there this weekend, it will get there soon enough. This weekend last year, Star Trek Into Darkness earned first place with $70.17 million over the weekend, which is a figure I think Godzilla will top. If it does, and the holdovers hold on well, then 2014 might end its mini-losing streak earlier than I thought it would.

Godzilla is a risky movie to make. There have been a lot of movies in the Kaiju genre over the years, but it is not one that is a big hit this side of the Pacific ocean. Pacific Rim only made $100 million domestically. The 1998 version of Godzilla performed better at the box office, but wasn't exactly loved by critics. The track record for these movies is not good, but fortunately this film's buzz is strong. The early reviews were even stronger than the buzz and while they have softened a bit, the Tomatometer Score is still 80% positive, which is great for a film like this. On the very high end, it could open with more than $90 million, while anything below $60 million will be very disappointing. I think it will open with just under $80 million, let's say $78 million, but I am a little more bullish than most. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to live up to expectations, so I think there's an opening for this film.

Neighbors will be pushed into second place, that much is obvious. The question is how well will it hold onto its opening weekend box office. On the one hand, the film's Tomatometer Score is at 74% positive, which is certainly a good score for this type of film. On the negative side, this film is aimed at Young Males, which is the same target demographic as Godzilla is aimed at. Comedies tend to have better legs, so it should avoid a 50% drop-off and $27 million seems to be a safe prediction. This would lift its running tally to just over $92 million. It will reach $100 million before next weekend.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 should be next with between $15 million and $16 million. A combination of mixed reviews and direct competition will hurt it this weekend. That said, it will still be in 3,000 theaters during the Memorial Day long weekend, more or less, and the boost it gets from that should help it across the $200 million milestone.

Million Dollar Arm is playing the role of counter-programing this week. Its reviews are mixed and are currently just 54% positive. That's not going to be fatal, but it is also not a great score either. There's no direct competition to deal with and the genre (inspirational sports stories inspired by real life events) have quite a few hits in their ranks. On the high end, it could open in third place with $16 million. On the low end, it might struggle to get to $10 million. I think $12 million during its opening weekend is the safest bet.

The Other Woman and Heaven is for Real will be in a close battle for fifth place with $5 million, more or less. The Other Woman should earn a little more and Heaven is for Real should earn a little less. Both films have likely already broken even, so the studios should be happy with these results.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-05-15