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‘Godzilla’ Crushes Box Office With Largest Opening Day of Year, Set for $98 Million Weekend

The King of the Monsters is also king of the box office.

Godzilla” obliterated the competition with a $38.5 million Stateside opening on Friday, the largest debut day of the year. This includes $9.3 million from Thursday night screenings. At $6.2 million, the creature feature also earned 2014’s biggest Imax opening.

The Warner Bros.-Legendary Pictures reboot of the Japanese classic is on track for a much-higher-than-anticipated $98 million this weekend, which would be the best opening of the year so far.

This also means the tentpole could top the openings of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which launched to $95 million and $91.6 million, respectively.

If that figure holds, it will also mark the highest grossing debut for a monster movie to date, ahead of the last record holder, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” which opened to $72 million in 1997.

Godzilla” hauled in an additional $22.3 million from foreign markets on Friday, bringing its international cume to $43 million. It’s no. 1 in the U.K. ($4.7 million two-day total), Russia ($3.6 million), Mexico ($3.2 million), Germany ($2.9 million) and Australia ($2.6 million).

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Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” is undoing the damage done by Sony’s 1998 big-budget disaster. Roland Emmerich’s pic starring Matthew Broderick opened to lackluster reviews and grossed only $6 million more Stateside than its $130 million production budget (it hauled $380 million worldwide). In fact, the last three Godzilla movies have flopped domestically, with “Godzilla 1985” grossing $4 million and “Godzilla 2000” making $10 million.

The $160 million blockbuster is the last film that WB is co-financing with Legendary — its producing partner of eight years. “Godzilla” is their first big-budget collaboration following last summer’s mixed bag “Pacific Rim.”

Legendary, which financed 75% of “Godzilla,” looks to be turning a new leaf following its recent trouble with the monster genre at the U.S. box office. “Pacific Rim’s” meager takings (it made $102 million domestic on a $190 million production budget) followed Bryan Singer’s “Jack the Giant Slayer” disappointment, another WB release.

The pic starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen is playing in 3,952 theaters. It received mainly positive reviews, earning a B+ CinemaScorea and 73% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Another newcomer, the Jon Hamm-starrer “Million Dollar Arm,” grossed $3.5 million for a fourth place finish on Friday. Disney’s inspirational sports drama looks to earn $10 million-plus by Sunday — a decent start for the modestly-budgeted $25 million film.

Universal’s “Neighbors” leads the rest of the pack with $8.4 million. The second weekend of the raunchy comedy starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron stands to earn $26 million, a 47% decline from its stellar debut weekend.

The R-rated movie crashed “The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s” box office party last weekend when it launched to no. 1 with an impressive $49 million.

Meanwhile, another blockbuster reboot, Sony’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” came in third with $4.5 million on Friday. The superhero pic will likely earn between $15.5 and $16.5 million by Sunday, which would raise its domestic cume to $171.4 million. Its worldwide total had almost reached $600 million heading into the weekend.

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