1. Godzilla (Warner Brothers, 3,952 Theaters, 123 Minutes, Rated PG-13): For a franchise that started in Japan with a man wearing a rubber suit 50 years ago, getting an American version of Godzilla up and running is way harder than it seems.
It’s not that people weren’t willing to see them–each American Godzilla film made a profit (Yes, even Godzilla 1985). But the films were completely lambasted in by critics. Godzilla 1985 holds a 13% Fresh at Rotten tomatoes and the 1998 version a 25% fresh.
However, since that time, we’ve had Cloverfield and Pacific Rim to show us how to make a good monster movie, and it looks like this one version has been taking notes. This film seems to have forgone trying to balance modern action and scares with the campy goofiness of the original and has just decided to give us a more serious approach to the destruction. The result? a 76% fresh rating, which makes it the Citizen Kane of American Godzilla films.
2. Million Dollar Arm (Disney, 3,019 Theaters, 124 Minutes, Rated PG): When Jon Hamm burst on the scene with Mad Men, it seemed like many people thought he came preordained to be a big movie star. I know in the comic book community, his name is often mentioned as wishful thinking for just about every superhero film that came down the pike in the last seven years. But here he is, as Mad Man is running down, starring in this. Seems somewhat disappointing.
Disney has had some success in their sports-film-based-on-a-true-story genre. This film is based on the real life story of a MLB agent who goes looking for pitching in India by means of a reality program there (SPOILER WARNING: He finds two prospects, both signed into the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Only one is still playing)>
I guess this could be considered counter programming. I don’t know how well Godzilla will do but its not likely this will be able to beat it out at the box office. But it should do better than expected.