Japan Box Office: Toho's 'Godzilla Resurgence' Opens With $6.1 Million
The first Japanese 'Godzilla' in 12 years bows atop the box office, but fails to land monster-sized numbers.
Toho's Godzilla Resurgence (Shin Gojira) topped the Japan weekend box office with a Saturday-Sunday take of ￥625 million ($6.1 million) from 412,000 admissions, a good but not great opening for the first homegrown edition of the beloved monster in 12 years.
Godzilla Resurgence was released Friday and will have taken in a few more million on its opening night, though those figures have yet to be released. Legendary's Godzilla opened to $5 million in 2014 in Japan, and Toho must have hoped to beat that by more than the 20 percent margin it did. By way of comparison, Disney's Frozen debuted the same year to more than $7.5 million, going on to collect $250 million locally.
The Gareth Edwards-directed Godzilla finished with just under $30 million in Japan and its worldwide take of more than $500 million was a major incentive for Toho to revive its best-known franchise.
Directed by Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Attack on Titan), Godzilla Resurgence is the 29th installment in the franchise produced by Toho. The film is an origins story, with Godzilla appearing in contemporary Japan, but for the first time. It has been mostly positively received, though Japanese critics tend to avoid the outright panning of films.
The depiction of the monster and the CG effects have been winning praise, but there has been criticism of the long sequences of dialogue between politicians, the military and other authorities. The cast of no fewer than 329 has been called out for being confusing, introducing too many characters and subplots.
The original 1954 Godzilla played on the fears of the new atomic weapons age, and the latest incarnation speaks to the anxieties stemming from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. The government was widely criticized for its response to the disasters, and the producers of Godzilla Resurgence have acknowledged the influence of that period on the film.
Godzilla Resurgence will make its way across Asia this month and will be released in more 100 countries this year, though a U.S. release date has yet to be announced.