You could smell it in the air on Friday. My wife and I went to an early showing of Godzilla after having a nice lunch at Chick-fil-A and already the Showcase Cinema in Springdale, Ohio was cranked up in anticipation of what turned out to be a fabulous movie. READ MY REVIEW HERE. It was simply a jaw-dropping experience and the buzz was already percolating into what would become a $32 million dollar evening after a $9 million dollar Thursday night of special showings. The theater was buzzing with excitement the likes of which I had not seen in years and the film hadn’t even thought of hitting Saturday yet. Projections had the film only doing $65 million dollars over the weekend, but by Saturday morning, it was obvious that Godzilla would crush the opening of Spiderman 2, from two weeks earlier of $91 million. My wife and I bought our Imax ticket and quickly discovered on a gigantic poster that we would be treated to a free popcorn just for buying the Imax ticket, so we picked up some wonderfully buttered popcorn and stepped into history as the best monster movie ever to be filmed played before our eyes. During the climax my wife was so excited she almost leapt at the screen laughing, pointing, and was ready to punch something.
At the conclusion a few of the employees who came in to clean up asked me how the movie was, and stated that they couldn’t wait to get off work so they could see it. My wife and I were the last to leave the theater and I told them that they needed to clock out right now, and get up in those seats and watch this movie right now. It was that incredible, history making awe inspiring—and the ramifications of it would manifest long after what would turn out to be a monumental opening weekend. I knew as the credits stopped rolling that this movie was going to explode with global business that would topple $1 billion dollars and launch new life into a film genre that will ignite the imaginations of millions of young people and I enjoyed the reverence. Unlike The Amazing Spiderman 2 which saw a major drop in business during its second week of release, Godzilla would likely see even more business over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend as word of mouth will spread like wildfire about how good the movie is.
So what does this mean? Why is the box office of Godzilla so important? Well, I have been writing a lot lately about the importance of mythology in our culture. It shapes everything from philosophy to politics and is likely the most important attribute to any human society. There are a lot of elements in our present world that makes human beings feel powerless, and subjected to abuses, so when their imaginations are stimulated with thought, there is a sense of freedom in the exchange. When a movie is as exciting as Godzilla is, and inspires so many people to go to a theater to experience it, a unifying philosophy is being painted across the canvas of human society and it is a wonderful thing to witness. When a movie does that kind of business, other studios are forced to copy, and that means that films that are losers, like Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi, and other progressive films must adapt and compete against traditional films that a majority of the world population yearns for.
There is no group hugging going on in Godzilla. The hero is Godzilla who stands as a solitary savior of mankind and the main protagonist who is on his own adventure is also the last man standing to save mankind from disaster. The rest of the characters can only watch everything happening with passive helplessness. It is in this attribute that once again traditional films destroy the box office business of collective message stories attempting to sell progressive storylines. When a traditional old-fashioned film like Godzilla does such good business the public is voting, and the votes favor tradition because other studios—due to capitalism are forced to compete or go out of business.
Japan’s Tolo studios have had the rights to Godzilla for years, and they have nurtured it along. But they knew that if they wanted to take Godzilla into the realm of international—mainstream sensation, they needed Legendary Pictures to pull off the task. Legendary Pictures put up 75% of the nearly $200 million dollar budget and hired relative newcomer Gareth Edwards to direct the film. There weren’t any film studios in France able to perform such a task, not in England, not in Germany, certainly not in China and Japan was obviously limited in their abilities. It took an American production company to achieve the objective of spreading the Godzilla message and did they ever pull it off. The risk of Gareth Edwards not only paid off, but the film will evolve into a sensation that will not be forgotten any time soon. It is a benchmark film that will take the world by storm.
This is yet another example of many themes discussed here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom day in and day out over a number of years now and it was quite refreshing to see the early wave of Godzilla before everything became much noisier. I was not surprised to see such a ruckus, human beings are starving from substance, and Godzilla delivers it. If Godzilla were simply about destruction, it wouldn’t do such good box office numbers, and the buildup of the character over the last 60 years has not prepared people for this kind of market desire. The old films were fun films, but not good ones. It is for the unspoken themes for which Godzilla is so popular, the one against the many, the mysteries of our own past unrealized, the protection of man’s creations over the creations of nature, the futility of those same creations against the scale of nature at times, and individual will. It’s also about hopes, dreams, and the importance of family. The scene where the main protagonist helps a little boy find his parents is just another reiteration of that main family theme found throughout the film.
History has been made and it was a fun weekend watching the events come together as the box office numbers of Godzilla came in. It felt like victory for all those who support classic elements in movies which builds the mythology not just of our nation, but now of the world. These days, it’s no longer cars that America exports that are so prized throughout the world, or the aviation industry, or even food—it is mythology which can only come from the imaginations of free people. Only in America could a movie like Godzilla be made, and that was obvious as I left the theater ahead of a box office wave which consumed the world and brought a smile to my face for more reasons than that the movie was a great one. Mythology has the answers to many of our contemporary problems and hidden within the Godzilla film is the skeleton key to healing human civilization. And the key has now been turned.
By the way, Lengendary Pictures is now working with Universal Studios and their next big monster movie after Godzilla is Jurassic World. And they love the script so much, they are already talking sequels. I am very happy! And really looking forward to it!