Godzilla crushes global box office with biggest debut of the year

Gareth Edwards' disaster movie took $196.2 million worldwide this weekend

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla has opened with the biggest debut of the year, grossing $196.2 million at the global box office this weekend.

The hit blockbuster, a fresh take on the 1950s Japanese original, stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. 

It is the latest in a long run of movies and TV shows that have tried and often failed to reboot the dramatic tale of a gigantic radioactive monster threatening humanity’s existence.

The new movie is on course to smash the earnings of the 1998 remake, featuring Matthew Broderick, which took $379 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Some of the various incarnations of Godzilla: 1954, 2000 and 2014 Some of the various incarnations of Godzilla: 1954, 2000 and 2014

Despite recognition of Godzilla’s innate cheesiness, it has received positive reviews from most critics who have praised the film’s large scale and impressive visual effects.

Cranston plays a scientist who worked at the doomed Japanese nuclear plant 15 years ago. Juliette Binoche is cast as his wife, while Taylor-Johnson plays their bomb-defusing naval officer son Ford.

The storyline sees Godzilla come up against two massive beasts that come to life, set on causing widespread destruction.

But some Japanese fans have criticised Godzilla's size, calling the creature a "calories monster" and "too fat".

Following in Godzilla’s box office wake are The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which took $48.3 million, Zac Efron and Seth Rogen’s Bad Neighbours with $39.5 million, Rio 2 with $11.4 million and Million Dollar Arm with $10.9 million.

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