Godzilla: King of the Monsters may have scored the lowest opening weekend in the MonsterVerse, but it is not a box office bomb yet. The sequel to 2014's Godzilla recently opened in theaters, hoping to continue its shared universe on a high note. Both the first Godzilla movie and 2017's Kong: Skull Island were financially successful, giving Warner Bros. and Legendary confidence to continue fleshing the franchise out. The studios had high expectations for King of the Monsters, as evidenced by its production budget of $200 million. That made it the most expensive installment in the series to date.
Unfortunately, Godzilla 2 struggled out of the gate. While projections always pointed to the worst debut in the MonsterVerse, the film actually came in under those estimates. In its first three days domestically, King of the Monsters earned $49 million. That is well below its predecessor's $93.1 million opening and Skull Island's $61 million. For a franchise that's building up to 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong, this was not the turn of events anybody needed. But right now, nobody should be pushing the panic button.
WB was obviously hoping for a larger turnout, but $49 million isn't disastrous, and Godzilla 2 is currently at $179 million worldwide. Sadly, it's already premiered in a majority of countries around the globe (there are four more territories awaiting it - none of them large enough to make a significant impact on the final gross), but it did get a nice boost from overseas markets. This is actually something of a MonsterVerse staple. Skull Island made nearly $400 million internationally, and the first Godzilla took home $328.4 million outside of the U.S. It's because of the worldwide grosses the MonsterVerse was considered successful enough to be a shared universe in the first place. Ideally, King of the Monsters will be able to do the same and end up with a healthy total.
It's worth noting that Skull Island didn't even crack $170 million domestically for its entire run, so a weak showing Stateside isn't enough to sink Godzilla 2. The global legs will have to be very strong to make up the difference, but it's doable - even with tough competition coming in June. The first Godzilla was also a summer release and went up against major hits like X-Men: Days of Future Past and Maleficent en route to becoming a solid hit. Obviously, King of the Monsters isn't going to break any records, but it's too early to write it off entirely. Yes, it still has a long way to go before reaching its break even point (though that becomes easier if the budget is closer to $170 million than $200 million), but it could surprise.
Still, there's a chance it might not. Considering how low interest was in Godzilla 2 at the outset, it's hard to see the film sticking around for too long. Reviews were polarizing, with most people praising the action sequences and criticizing the narrative around them. King of the Monsters, for all its merits, is not the definition of a must-see cinematic event. And with June typically loaded with high-profile offerings like Dark Phoenix, Men in Black: International, and Toy Story 4, there are plenty of movies on the horizon that will take away business from Godzilla 2 in the near future. The key thing to keep in are the opening weekends. Godzilla got off to a great start; its sequel did not. That could come into play when determining King of the Monsters' ultimate fate.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020