Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the next big film of the summer, and it sports a fittingly monstrous production budget. Back in 2014, director Gareth Edwards delivered a new Godzilla film, which kicked off Legendary Pictures' MonsterVerse. The franchise continued with 2017's Kong: Skull Island, and will eventually see Godzilla and King Kong collide in next year's aptly titled Godzilla vs. Kong. But before that happens, Godzilla takes center stage again, with King of the Monsters debuting in theaters this weekend.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, King of the Monsters looks to showcase the monster-on-monster action fans wanted from the 2014 film, featuring a number of classic creatures from the franchise. The trailers have emphasized the roles of Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, building up hype with epic set pieces of these titans colliding. It's clear WB has big plans in mind for their latest tentpole, and they made sure to make a substantial financial commitment to the project.
The budget for Godzilla: King of the Monsters is reportedly $200 million, which is admittedly a fairly noticeable jump from its predecessor. Edwards' film cost $160 million to make. King of the Monsters is also more expensive than Skull Island, which had a budget of $185 million.
Both Godzilla ($529.1 million worldwide) and Skull Island ($566.7 million) were financially successful, so it makes sense for WB to increase their investment on King of the Monsters. The MonsterVerse may not break box office records a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's clearly an audience draw and there's interest in seeing these classic characters on the big screen. The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that a larger budget means the break even point for the film is larger. Going by the general rule of thumb, King of the Monsters needs to earn $400 million worldwide just to make its money back. The first film cleared that mark and then some, so hopefully the sequel will be able to follow suit. If it can't, then there might be cause for concern.
King of the Monsters did not get a boost from critics, as the early reviews are mixed-to-positive. The most common critique is that while the action sequences are state-of-the-art, the larger story around the film is weak and leaves a lot to be desired. It'll be interesting to see what kind of impact that has on Godzilla 2's box office prospects, but it shouldn't take too big of a hit. The film is actually ideally timed to make a commercial splash. Avengers: Endgame has been out for a month now and done a majority of its damage. Other blockbusters around the corner like Dark Phoenix and Men in Black: International aren't generating much fan fare, so it's not like there's an impending juggernaut on the way. King of the Monsters may end up having decent legs over the course of its run and continue the MonsterVerse on a high note.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020