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Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla stomped into North American theaters Thursday night, grossing a stellar $9.3 million from 3,400 theaters and raising the possibility that the film could exceed expectations and gross $75 million its debut, if not more.
PHOTOS: Godzilla Over the Decades
The Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. tentpole bested the $8.7 million earned two weeks ago by The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on its first night. That film went on to gross $91.6 million for the weekend after appealing heavily to families. Godzilla may be more fanboy-driven, evidenced by Thursday night’s strong Imax grosses, which amounted to $2.1 million.
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 iconic 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.
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