The Japanese monster movie “Godzilla Minus One” has smashed its way into the record books, becoming the highest grossing live-action Japanese film ever released in North America.
As of December 6, the latest installment in the iconic Godzilla franchise has earned $14.36 million at the North American box office since opening on December 1. This surpasses the previous record holder, the 1989 family film “The Adventures of Milo & Otis,” which grossed $14.1 million during its initial run and 1990 re-release.
“Godzilla Minus One” got off to a mammoth start, scoring the biggest opening weekend ever for a foreign language film in North America in 2024. It debuted to $11.4 million from 2,308 theaters, toppling demon slayer anime hit “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba,” which opened to $10.1 million in March.
Due to high audience demand, distributor Toho International added over 200 additional theaters in the film’s second week. It’s now playing in 2,540 North American locations.
Directed and written by Takashi Yamazaki, who also served as visual effects supervisor, “Godzilla Minus One” is set in postwar Japan as the nation contends with reconstruction efforts and the sudden appearance of a giant monster that wreaks havoc.
Yamazaki said, “I am happy that Godzilla, of all characters, has eclipsed a record that had not been broken for a long time. Looking back, I think that the cast and crew were all working on the film with the same goal in mind: to make something entertaining! That is what led to such a wonderful result.”
Beyond its commercial success, “Godzilla Minus One” has also won over critics, earning a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences seem to agree, giving it a 98% score.
Paul Degarabedian, senior media analyst at data firm Comscore, said: “Toho’s iconic movie monster Godzilla remains a screen idol some 70 years after first appearing in theaters. This exciting and original take on the Godzilla mythology has captivated audiences and critics alike with its impressive VFX imagery, bold filmmaking style and the box office result reflects the enthusiastic moviegoer response to the film.”
The last Japanese film to make a notable splash in North America was the 2021 anime sensation “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” which grossed over $48 million. But “Godzilla Minus One” represents a high water mark for a live-action Japanese title.
Godzilla remains one of Japan’s most enduring pop culture icons since first terrifying audiences in the 1954 film “Godzilla.” Dozens of sequels and remakes have followed over the decades.
“Godzilla Minus One” brings a fresh perspective to the venerable franchise by setting the monster’s latest rampage against a somber backdrop of post-war Japan. It focuses on the human drama of a nation rebuilding and uses Godzilla as a metaphor for the lingering trauma and devastation of war.
This emotional heft, combined with thrilling visual effects sequences, makes “Godzilla Minus One” resonate with critics and general audiences alike. Its box office legs show no signs of letting up either.
As the film continues to draw crowds with its winning combination of blockbuster spectacle and poignant sociopolitical commentary, “Godzilla Minus One” cement its status as a benchmark for Japanese cinema making an impact in Hollywood’s backyard.”