Godzilla reigned supreme at the box office this weekend, scoring one of the biggest debuts of the year so far.
Produced by Legendary Pictures and released by Warner Bros., the monster movie reboot earned an impressive $93.2 million at the domestic box office this weekend. It also opened in most overseas markets, which added up to $103 million.
Godzilla’s domestic debut ranks second in 2014: it wound up in between Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6 million). It also opened significantly higher than last Summer’s World War Z ($66.4 million), and more-than-doubled Pacific Rim’s $37.3 million.
It’s also worth noting that Godzilla earned more in its first three days than Star Trek Into Darkness earned in its first four ($83.7 million) on the same weekend last year. It was also above 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($90.2 million).
Godzilla’s success this weekend can be attributed to some smart choices made by the Warner Bros. marketing department. Coming off last Summer’s disappointing Pacific Rim, Warner Bros. opted to pitch Godzilla first-and-foremost as a disaster movie (instead of a monster movie). Advertisements hid the title character—and avoided even mentioning the other monsters—and instead put an emphasis on the human impact of large-scale destruction. Much of this was hung on Bryan Cranston’s character, who was positioned as the movie’s focal point; while that was very misleading, it was also highly effective.
Many moviegoers opted for premium-priced screenings of Godzilla. 3D showings accounted for 51 percent of revenue. Included in there is $14.1 million from IMAX, which is the biggest haul on those large-format screens so far this year.