Box Office: 'Godzilla' Surges Friday, Heads for $90 Million-Plus Opening
UPDATED: Hollywood has long tried to build a franchise around the famed monster, created by Japan's Toho studio; Jon Hamm's sports movie "Million Dollar Arm" muted.
Gareth Edwards' Godzilla -- giving new life to the iconic lizard -- is poised to cross a victorious $90 million in its North American debut after enjoying a $32 million-plus Friday.
The Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. tentpole is easily beating expectations, and could best the $91.6 million opening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 two weeks ago. Godzilla, earning a B+ CinemaScore, is doing especially strong business in Imax theaters.
Heading into the weekend, tracking had suggested that Godzilla would reach $65 million in its domestic launch.
The $160 million movie also opens around the globe this weekend, and is already off to an impressive start in a handful of international markets, including France.
Godzilla, hoping to finally launch a Hollywood studio franchise headlined by the giant lizard, is a defining moment for Legendary Pictures, which spearheaded the reboot. Legendary financed 75 percent of Godzilla, with Warner Bros. putting up the rest of the money.
An origin story, the movie tries to remain true to the Japanese Godzilla movies made by Japan's Toho studio. Godzilla stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn.
Godzilla opens 16 years after Sony unsuccessfully tried to launch its own franchise with Roland Emmerich's Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick.
The only other film opening nationwide this weekend is Disney's Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm as a sports agent who travels to India to recruit baseball pitchers. The $25 million movie is eyeing a muted debut in the $10 million-plus range, putting it at No. 4 behind Godzilla, Neighbors and Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Directed by Craig Gillespie from a script by Tom McCarthy, Million Dollar Arm is based on the true story of baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. The family friendly movie, rated PG, also stars Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Alan Arkin and Lake Bell.