TOKYO – “Godzilla,” Gareth Edwards’ Hollywood retelling of the classic Japanese monster tale, appears on course to top the box office in Japan.

Japanese entertainment press typically reports weekend B.O. rankings on Monday and nationwide data only on Tuesday. But industry insiders posting on the popular 2-channel message board suggest that “Godzilla” should win its opening frame in its last major world territory to release. 

Released in four different versions (2D sub-titled and dubbed, 3D subbed and dubbed) on 773 screens on Friday by local exhibition/distribution powerhouse Toho, the picture topped rankings at both online ticket sales sites and Tokyo area multiplexes.

According to one unofficial source, “Godzilla” sold a total of 70,009 tickets on Saturday, compared with 35,309 for second place “Maleficent” and 28,605 for third-place “The Eight Rangers 2,” the sequel to a hit 2012 superhero picture.

But posters on both Twitter and 2-channel also reported many empty seats at “Godzilla” screenings, with the blazing hot weather in much of Japan given as one reason.

Local predictions of the pic’s weekend take vary, but hover around the $5 million mark. Warner Bros, which co-financed the film with Legendary Pictures, and which handles the release in most other territories, is expected to release studio estimates on Sunday evening PST.

Online reviews in Japan have been mixed, with some complimenting Edwards for his faithfulness to the Japanese original, while others complain about the title star’s lack of on-screen time.

At a press event at ComiCon Legendary this weekend announced that Edwards would direct a sequel for release in 2017.