×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’: Inside a Fading Franchise

Godzilla: King of the Monsters” didn’t have a roar quite as deafening as its franchise predecessors. The third entry in Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse opened with a middling $49 million at the domestic box office, a start well below 2014’s “Godzilla” ($93 million) and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island” ($61 million).

Like its series brethren, Godzilla’s umpteenth return to the big screen had a more promising start overseas, where it debuted with $130 million. Even so, that’s a potentially problematic drop in ticket sales for a movie that cost roughly $200 million to make. It also likely required a marketing spend in excess of $100 million.

“You can’t make an epic monster movie without spending some money,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore. “The fact that it earned less than the previous films may be an indicator that some creative risks or a different perspective on the genre could be needed to reinvigorate it and keep it relevant.”

Those diminishing returns are troubling given that these movies are only getting more expensive to make. That should concern Warner Bros. and Legendary as the studios wraps up production on “Godzilla vs. Kong,” a sequel to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and “Kong: Skull Island.” The match-up between the otherworldly beasts is slated to be released on March 13, 2020.

“As much as they are connected and part of a MonsterVerse, they all rise and fall on their own,” Dergarabedian said. “If the trailer is killer, the marketing is great, and the timing is right, [“Godzilla vs. Kong”] could be bigger. You just never know. You can have an ebb and flow, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up on a franchise.”

However, the latest installment in the Godzilla series didn’t extend its appeal beyond its male-driven fanbase. Boys and men accounted for 76% of opening weekend moviegoers, with 59% of that group clocking in over the age of 25. Studios want franchises to grow, or at least maintain, their audience over the course of new installments. It’s never a good sign when crowds dramatically shrink after only three iterations.

As popcorn season heats up, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, Jeff Goldstein, says it’s a “challenge and goal” for new audiences to find “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” “The movie is dependent on broadening beyond just the fanbase,” he said.

Mediocre reviews and a lackluster B+ CinemaScore suggest “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” might not be able to survive long during an especially competitive summer season. If “Godzilla” isn’t able to pull in crowds beyond its core demographic, theater owners could bump showtimes to make room for upcoming blockbuster-hopefuls like “X-Men” installment “Dark Phoenix,” “Men in Black: International” with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, Samuel L. Jackson’s “Shaft” sequel, and “Toy Story 4,” all of which all hitting theaters this month.

“This marketplace seems to be fueled by your classic summer movies,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s not just about the reviews right now. It’s the perception of these movies being multiplex worthy in the summer.”

More Film

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Johnny BananasMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    'The Challenge' Veteran Crashes MTV Awards Acceptance Speech; Cut From Broadcast

    Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio pulled a Kanye West at Saturday’s taping of the MTV Movie & TV awards when “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” won over “The Challenge” in the Reality Royalty category. However, viewers didn’t get to see it. Producers of the show cut out Devenanzio’s speech from Monday’s airing, after the reality star took [...]

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards returned to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations with four apiece were front runners “Avengers: Endgame,” which took home the evening’s best movie award, and “Game of Thrones,” which won best show. The Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG” also scored [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Jon Ham Richard Jewell

    Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm Join Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm have joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s already star-studded drama “Richard Jewell.” Paul Walter Hauser is set to star as the titular Jewell in Warner Bros.’ pic alongside Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s attorney and Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother. The drama is based on Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair [...]

  • Where the Wind Blows

    Hong Kong's 'Where the Wind Blows' Sidesteps Protests For China Promo

    Hong Kong film director Philip Yung and his cast were in Shanghai on Monday to promote their upcoming film “Where the Wind Blows.” They revealed new details while cautiously sidestepping — for the most part — the awkward issue of last week’s massive civil protests in Hong Kong against a controversial bill that would have [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content