A monster lays waste to America's cities, smashing skyscrapers and tearing up passenger trains. It's the familiar tale of Godzilla, a mutant lizard last seen rampaging through cinemas in 1998 and now back on the big screen.

Godzilla, which was made for an estimated $160 million and opened this weekend, marks the start of the Hollywood blockbuster season — another entertainment beast that never dies.

Summer blockbusters may be as predictable as holiday traffic jams, but a recent book from a Harvard Business School professor throws light on why the format endures — from books and film to TV and music.