Hype-heavy Godzilla hits theaters with more of a peep than a roar.
The bigger they are, the harder…
Okay, with a $55.7 million, four-day opening weekend, it would be an exaggeration to say that Sony’s Godzilla has fallen. But despite more than a year of prerelease marketing and placement in a record number of theaters (3,310, totaling 7,363 screens), the size-touting remake of the 1954 Japanese monster flick opened to poor reviews and — despite the predictions — did not even come close to The Lost World: Jurassic Park‘s $90.2 million take on the same weekend last year. Heck, last week’s Powerball winners made more than Godzilla, and that was after taxes.
According to industry analysts, the sci-fi extravaganza now appears to be headed toward a $140 million domestic box office take. That’s considerably less than the reported $170 million spent to make the film and market it in the U.S. But the studio remains optimistic. ”It’s the seventh-biggest opening of all time,” says a Sony spokesperson. ”I don’t know how anyone could be disappointed with these numbers.”
All this still leaves the nagging question, What went wrong? How could such a surefire movie spawn such a ho-hum opening? For one thing, a lack of star power (where’s Will Smith when you need him?). More important, however, is the inescapable fact that script matters. ”The story definitely was lacking,” says Ed Mintz, president of the audience-polling company CinemaScore. ”People said [the movie] was too computery and the creature looked fake.” And while realism isn’t high on most moviegoers’ summer-blockbuster checklists, a lack of logic throughout the film did leave some folks scratching their heads. With so many unanswered questions, EW did a little digging to uncover the Godzilla-honest truth.
— What are the odds that a lizard would swim across an ocean and up hundreds of miles of coastline to build a nest in one of the world’s most densely populated cities?
”Zero,” says John Behler, curator of reptiles at New York’s Bronx Zoo. ”They may move some distance to a favorite nesting area, but it’s typically within a relatively short distance, from a few feet to a couple of hundred yards.”
— Do lizards really collect and stockpile food for their unhatched eggs?
T. rexes give their babies plenty of TLC (or so Lost World tells us), but lizards are another story: ”There’s very little maternal behavior exhibited in most reptiles,” says Behler. ”There’s no feeding of the young. They’re not like birds at all. That just isn’t part of reptilian makeup.” Still, we can understand this mistake. We kept confusing Godzilla with a T. rex too.
— Could you actually use a human pregnancy test to determine if a lizard is egg-heavy?
No. ”It only works on humans,” says Patricia Nasshorn, president of Unipath, the company that makes the home pregnancy test Clear Blue Easy. ”The hormone it tests begins with an h, which means it’s a human hormone.”