Player of the Day

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Age: 44

Occupation: Great Reptillian Hope of the movie industry, or rather Sony Pictures.

I hear this lizard's had quite an impact: He certainly has. Carmike Cinema, which operates 2,700 screens across the country, saw its stock dip by six percent Thursday after "disappointing" sales for the monster pic ate into their profits.

Wait a minute. You mean the movie critics are calling "the first undeniable hit of the summer" (The Wilmington Morning Star) is flopping faster than a dead fish? A film that grosses $55 million in its first weekend ain't a flop, but it ain't exactly Titanic. Sony spent $325 million, all told, to make Godzilla and plug the heck out of it. Total estimated domestic gross is now less than half that.

But surely "kids of all ages are bound to be drawn to this reptillian rampage" (The Fort Worth Star Telegraph)? Not if toy sales are any indication. According to Toys 'R' Us, kids prefer Teletubbies to Godzillas -- by a margin of 3 to 1.

What's the matter? Isn't this flick "a blast to watch" (The Albany Times-Union)? Not according to the critics -- at least, not if you put those movie-poster quotes in their proper context. Brandon Stinnett of the Kansas City Star did call it "the ultimate popcorn movie," but only because "you have to eat a lot of popcorn to stay awake through it."

Will the beast survive? Only if it stomps off to foreign markets pronto. Then again, the Japanese aren't too happy about what Sony has done to their Gojira, and Europe is already catching a whiff of the bad press. But look on the bright side: Matthew Broderick has signed up for two sequels.