Like its series brethren, Godzilla's umpteenth return to the big screen had a more promising start overseas, where it debuted with $130 million. It also likely required a marketing spend in excess of $100 million. Even so, that's a potentially problematic drop in ticket sales for a movie that cost roughly $200 million to make.
That should concern Warner Bros. and Legendary as the studios ramp 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. Those diminishing returns are troubling given that these movies are only getting more expensive to make.
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. As popcorn season heats up, Warner Bros.
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. 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.
"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."” />
"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." "You can't make an epic monster movie without spending some money," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore.
Studios want franchises to grow, or at least maintain, their audience over the course of new installments. However, the latest installment in the Godzilla series didn't extend its appeal beyond its male-driven fanbase. It's never a good sign when crowds dramatically shrink after only three iterations. Boys and men accounted for 76% of opening weekend moviegoers, with 59% of that group clocking in over the age of 25.
You can have an ebb and flow, but that doesn't mean you need to give up on a franchise." "As much as they are connected and part of a MonsterVerse, they all rise and fall on their own," Dergarabedian said. Kong"] could be bigger. You just never know. "If the trailer is killer, the marketing is great, and the timing is right, ["Godzilla vs.
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). "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" didn't have a roar quite as deafening as its franchise predecessors. The third entry in Warner Bros.

"There are so many more arrows in our quiver at a time when it's harder and harder to get people to come out." "It's FOMO — the fear of missing out — and it's much different seeing it in the theaters than staying at home," he says.
Dergarabedian says safety concerns led studios to shift to an earlier start, which "reflects the sensitivity of studios and exhibitors to the ever changing nature of society and its sometimes unpredictable impact on the marketplace."
"The number in theory is a great indicator of first weekend box office potential," he notes, with the caveat the it reflects enthusiastic die hard fans and doesn't take into account constantly evolving social media sentiment.
Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson points to the "Deadpool" movies, which generated $12.7 million in previews in 2016 and $18.6 million this year.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" still holds the record for pre-shows with a stunning $57 million in Thursday night showings in 2015, followed by $45 million for 2017's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," $43 million for 2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and $39 million for this year's "Avengers: Infinity Wars."
16. Thursday night preview grosses for Marvel's "Black Panther" came in at $25.2 million, serving as the first indication that the groundbreaking superhero movie was going to obliterate initial forecasts estimating a range between $100 million to $120 million. The opening total wound up at a stunning $202 million. The Wakanda Forever movement got a headstart as moviegoers were eager to get a jump on the hit movie. A similar scenario had played out on an larger larger scale on Feb.
And while Friday nights were traditionally the big opening nights, Thursdays give moviegoers another chance to get tickets for possible sold-out titles.
9, Warner Bros. executives made an unexpectedly pleasant discovery: "The Meg," their prehistoric shark movie that cost $150 million and took over two decades to get to the big screen, wasn't going to bomb. On the night of Aug.
"What happened with 'The Meg' previews is that we were able to get the word out early that the movie is a lot of fun," noted Jeff Goldstein, Warner's domestic distribution chief.
Focus Features distribution chief Lisa Bunnell emphasizes that the range of films that benefit from previews has widened substantially. "It started with event movies but it's turned into something that's culturally very important," she says.
But for now, studios are finding previews result in a long good Friday indeed at the box office.” /> Probably not, since business during the school and work day would be limited. Since Friday opening days now start on Thursday evenings, will opening night eventually turn into opening afternoon?
"The original ethos behind the midnight showings was for those specially selected potential blockbusters, not every wide release film," recalls Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.
and 8 p.m., albeit at fewer theaters than on official opening Fridays. But more recently, studios began shifting Thursday previews back to 10 p.m. Thursday preview grosses are folded into Friday totals. Midnight screenings used to be reserved for the biggest titles — think "Star Wars" level. and then to the now-standard 7 p.m.
Goldstein agrees that Thursday nights have become more important at a time when competition for moviegoers attention is growing exponentially.
"It's not foolproof, but the Thursday numbers do give you an early glimpse of the demographics that it's going to attract and whether you executed your marketing," Aronson says.
Four weeks later, "The Meg" has already crossed $462 million worldwide and will likely end up in the black. The final number — $45.4 million — was double that forecast. Initial domestic numbers for "The Meg" showed that $4 million worth of tickets had been sold on Thursday night, portending an opening weekend far above the estimated $20 million to $22 million for the Friday to Sunday period.
"There are no extra costs to starting on Thursday night instead of Friday morning. But now, "Thursday night previews have become the norm," notes Lionsgate distribution president David Spitz. Exhibitors love the fact that the studios are doing it because it drives traffic on what would normally be an off night."
The strong Thursday showing for "The Meg" is proof of the impact early preview showings have become over the past six years. Ever-earlier showings ahead of the once-traditional Friday release get the buzz out faster and give box office watchers a snapshot of what to expect over the opening weekend.
in July 2012, when James Eagan Holmes opened fire during the midnight premiere, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. There's several advantages to starting showtimes well before midnight, but the shift was precipitated by  "The Dark Knight Rises" shooting in Aurora, Colo.
It's still an inexact science, according to Dergarabedian. How accurate is Thursday night in terms of predicting the weekend?
"You ensure that people can see the movie on Thursday instead of being shut out Friday.” "When you have a movie with strong playability, starting on Thursday night can generate a lot of positive momentum," he said.