‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Will Crush This Weekend, but Can Its Box-Office Reign Last?

This could be bad news for Warner Bros. and Legendary's MonsterVerse.

Godzilla Box Office
How much will Godzilla: King of the Monsters roar at the box office? Warner Bros.

We here at Observer are quite fond of Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse and the kooky but successful approach the franchise has taken. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters getting mixed-to-negative reviews and underwhelming box-office projections.

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The latest tracking numbers for the movie peg its opening earnings at between $55 million and $65 million, a concerning downturn from 2014’s Godzilla, which pulled in $93.1 million, and a missed opportunity to build on 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, which raked in $61 million. (For comparison, Rocketman, which also opens this weekend, is tracking for a debut of around $20 million.)

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The trailers for King of the Monsters have been met with widespread praise since debuting at last summer’s San Diego Comic Con, yet it doesn’t seem like that will translate to ticket sales (note: tracking is an inexact science and can often be inaccurate). With next year’s mega-crossover Godzilla vs. Kong already in development, the series needs to generate momentum right now.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say King of the Monsters opens to $60 million and then has the same fate as its two MonsterVerse predecessors. Neither were overly leggy here at home, combining for an average domestic multiplier (the multiple of the film’s final gross to its debut numbers) of 2.4x. Apply that to King of the Monsters’ $60 million opening and we’ve got a North American final haul of $144 million, the lowest in the franchise.

Godzilla then earned 62 percent of its worldwide gross overseas, while Skull Island was even more internationally tilted at 70 percent. Let’s split the difference and say King of the Monsters earns 65 percent of its final worldwide total from overseas markets. Now we’re looking at around $267 million international for a global total of just $411 million. That would be a worrisome cumulative final gross for the $200 million budgeted blockbuster. Thankfully, this is all just calculated guesswork.

While domestic audiences seem to have grown tired of after-the-fact sequels (sorry, Lego Movie 2), international audiences have proven much kinder. Hell, even 1998’s dreadful Godzilla scored nearly $243 million in foreign sales, which would be more than $380 million in 2019 dollars. We’d be surprised if King of the Monsters doesn’t earn around $300 million outside North America to push its final total closer to the $500 million–plus mark.

If this weekend’s Kaiju monster mash manages to top $600 million worldwide, it will become the first creature feature outside the Jurassic Park franchise to do so, reports TheWrap. Through two films, the MonsterVerse has grossed more than $1 billion overall.

Michael Dougherty is directing the script he co-wrote with Zach Shields. The movie stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe and Zhang Ziyi star.

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Will Crush This Weekend, but Can Its Box-Office Reign Last?