‘Godzilla’ Stomping Toward $60 Million Debut in the U.S.

Legendary and Warner Bros.’ monster tentpole “Godzilla” looks to take a significant bite out of the box office next month with a potential $60 million-plus opening domestically, according to early insider estimates.

Some observers say Gareth Edwards’ reboot could fetch over $70 million when it roars into theaters on May 16, depending on word of mouth for the $160 million tentpole, which begins screening for critics and the press in the coming weeks.

Godzilla” opens day-and-date worldwide in 60 foreign markets, hitting nearly every international region except Japan and China (a release date for China has not yet been announced).

Foreign tallies are expected to double the U.S. grosses, with B.O. projections in the $500 million to $600 million range globally.

Still, the 3D movie will likely lose the summer blockbuster battle as it faces off against a web of superheroes and monster pics in the coming months.

“Godzilla,” which has a P&A budget of just over $100 million, is sandwiched between two highly anticipated sequels from more established brands: Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which will have premiered two weeks before, and Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which hits theaters the following week.

Teaser trailers, TV spots and sneak peeks at Comic-Con, CinemaCon, SXSW and WonderCon, most recently, have generated much buzz and positive word of mouth following the reveal of the totally transformed scaly monster, with YouTube reporting Thursday that the “Godzilla” promo was the most-viewed movie trailer in the first quarter.

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

Warner Bros. and Legendary are tasked with redeeming Godzilla 16 years after Roland Emmerich’s big-budget version opened to lackluster reviews and grossed only $6 million more Stateside than its $130 million production budget. In fact, the last three Godzilla movies have flopped domestically, with “Godzilla 1985” grossing $4 million and “Godzilla 2000” earning $10 million.

“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston stars alongside the the iconic reptile in Edwards’ upcoming pic. Aaron Taylor Johnson (“Kick Ass”) and Elizabeth Olson co-star.

Legendary hopes “Godzilla” ends the recent woes of 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.

But Godzilla is one of the most globally recognizable movie monsters of all time, and the film stands to make an impact overseas (“Pacific Rim” also had foreign clout with a $309 million haul), making “Godzilla’s” release in Japan and China all the more significant.

WB is distributing “Godzilla” worldwide except in Japan, where it will be distributed by the monster’s owner, Toho, though it won’t return to its country of origin until July 25.

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