World Box Office: Godzilla: King of Monsters stomps into theaters

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Godzilla: King of Monsters stomped into theaters this weekend with $179 million in global receipts. Its US take of $49 million, while good enough for first place, wasn’t exactly earth-shattering. Both this size of the monster in this film and the budget used to create it are the biggest ever out of the 35 Godzilla films that have been made over the last 65 years. Strong Thursday previews and Friday business showed that the character still has a significant fan base, but general audiences weren’t particularly keen. Almost universal negative reviews didn’t help its case there, and audiences were in agreement with their assessment, leaving the film with just a B+ on Cinemascore. Putting this 393-foot-tall monster on the big screen is reported to have cost between $170 and $200 million before P&A. 2014’s Godzilla, by comparison, cost a bit less at $160 million and opened to $237 million at home and in the same markets overseas.

One bright spot came from its launch in China which, at $70 million, is more than double the opening take that the last Godzilla had there four years ago. Still, this number is on the lower end of industry expectations for the film. Japan, at $8.4 million, had a record start for both Godzilla films and Universal’s three MonsterVerse franchise entries. It took second in Mexico with $4.6 million, and in the UK it came in the same place but with $4.4 million. Korea was tipped to be a big territory for Godzilla, but it’s opening there was derailed by Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, which opened to an astounding $24.5 million in its home country. All in all, this weekend’s results fall short of the movie’s gargantuan ambitions.

Also opening in the US, Rocketman instead did much better by its own standards and soared to $25 million and a third-place finish, behind Aladdin. Taron Egerton stars in this biopic of the great Sir Elton John from Paramount Pictures. Dexter Fletcher, who got some experience telling rock stars’ stories when he was called in briefly to take over the reins after Bryan Singer was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody, was at the helm for this one. Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard star as well. Rocketman follows Elton John’s rise to the top of his profession and dives headfirst into the singer’s struggles with his sexuality and heavy drug use. It made $15.3 million in England so far and $31.2 million overall in its 40 overseas markets over the last two weeks. Its R rating makes comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody with its broader PG-13 market unfair, but it did open to less than half of last year Golden Globe winner’s $51 million domestic launch.

One more major release came into North American theaters this weekend. Universal and Blumhouse’s Ma opened in fourth with $18.26 million. Octavia Spencer stars as a woman who lures high-school kids into partying at her house and then kills them. Ma made $2.8 million overseas as well.

Aladdin meanwhile added $120 million in second place on the global chart, bringing its lifetime earnings to a very solid $445.9 million after two weeks in theaters. John Wick 3Parabellum for its part reached $221.6 million and Avengers: Endgame tacked on $16.4 million worldwide to bring its gross earnings to $2.71 billion. Avatar’s all-time record is now just $60 million away.

Next weekend: The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Dark Phoenix open in US theaters.

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