he King of the Monsters took the box office crown on Friday. Godzilla
, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and a few enormous radioactive monsters, earned an estimated $38.5 million in theaters on its first day in theaters — the best opening day yet for 2014. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier
opened with $36.9 million last month, while The Amazing Spider-Man 2
took in $35.2 on its first day two weeks ago.) That puts the film on track for an opening-weekend total around $97 million. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters
reportedly cost $160 million — an amount it should easily make back in the coming weeks. The last U.S.-made Godzilla movie was Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version
, a notorious misfire that cost $130 million and grossed just $136.3 million domestically.
The weekend’s other new wide release, Disney’s feel-good sports drama Million Dollar Arm, wasn’t a home run, earning just $3.5 million on Friday for a fourth-place finish. Based on a true story about the American baseball scout who recruited Indian athletes Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the movie is the first major starring role for Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm and reportedly cost $25 million. It should earn $12 million by the end of the weekend.
In second place, Neighbors earned $8.4 million on Friday, bringing the movie’s domestic total to $73.93 million after eight days. The R-rated comedy, which pits new parents (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) against frat kids (Zac Efron, Dave Franco), should make $25 million this weekend, for a cumulative total around $90 million. That’s well ahead of the pace of recent comedy hits like 21 Jump Street ($70.2 million after two weekends) and The Heat ($86.2 after two weekends).
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 lost some momentum on the way into its third weekend, grossing $4.5 million on Friday. That raises its cumulative haul to $159.9 million after 15 days in theaters. While still impressive, the numbers show waning interest in the web slinger’s franchise: 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man had made $210.3 million by its 15th day, while 2004′s Spider-Man 2 had already earned a truly amazing $272.7 by the same milepost.
Rounding out the top five, The Other Woman made an estimated $2.1 million on Friday, bringing the comedy’s domestic haul to $67.4 million after four weekends. The Cameron Diaz-Leslie Mann-Kate Upton farce should add $5 million to its total by the end of the weekend.
Here’s the top five:
1. Godzilla – $38.5 million
2. Neighbors – $8.4 million
3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $4.5 million
4. Million Dollar Arm – $3.5 million
5. The Other Woman – $2.1 million