Box Office News

Box Office Analysis, Jan. 21: 'Cloverfield' Crushes the Competition

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Jan 21, 2008 | 10:46am EST

Talk about a monster hit! The J.J. Abrams-produced monster thriller Cloverfield opened at the top of the North American box office this Martin Luther King weekend, raking in $46 million over four days.

Featuring a cast of unknowns, Cloverfield is a Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla story of an attack on NYC by some enormous creature and told from the perspective of a partygoer's hand-held video camera. It now stands as the biggest January opener of all time, as well as helping make this the biggest Martin Luther King weekend on record.

Cloverfield also benefited from cryptic marketing that sent young moviegoers on a scavenger hunt to decode clues about the movie's plot, images and even its title, which was not confirmed until shortly before its release.

"As we started it, we asked, how do we draw people in and have them say, 'Hey, I want to know more about that. That looked cool, that looked intriguing,'"Rob Moore, Paramount vice chairman told The Associated Press. "Then fortunately, they delivered a movie that was as unique and engaging as people had hoped from the marketing campaign."

The romantic comedy 27 Dresses, starring Katherine Heigl as a perpetual bridesmaid, debuted in second place with a four-day total of $27.2 million, while the weekend's other new wide release, bank-heist comedy Mad Money, with Diane KeatonQueen Latifah and Katie Holmes, opened in seventh with $9.2 million.

The Top 12 movies took in $131.7 million, up 83.85 percent from last year’s $71.6 million on the same weekend last year and up 23.95 percent from last weekend’s total of $106.3 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year: Sony’s Stomp the Yard, which stayed at No. 1 in its second week with $12.2 million in 2,051 theaters, averaging $5,991 per theater; Fox’s Night at the Museum, which stayed in second place in its fifth week with $12 million in 3,483 theaters, averaging $3,449 per theater; and Paramount’s Dreamgirls, which moved up to third place in its sixth week of release with $8 million in 2,214 theaters, averaging $3,617 per theater (Click here to read last year's box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10 ESTIMATES (Four-Day Totals)

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Cloverfield (Paramount, PG-13)

• Gross: $46 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,411

• Per-theater average: $11,738

No. 2: 27 Dresses (20th Cent Fox, PG-13)

• Gross: $27.2 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,057

• Per-theater average: $7,442

No. 3: The Bucket List (Warner Bros., PG-13)

• Gross: $16.1 million (-28%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,915 (+20)

• Per-theater average: $4,806

• Cume to date: $43.6 million

No. 4: Juno (Fox Searchlight, PG-13)

• Gross: $12 million (-27%)

• Weeks opened: 7

• Theaters: 2,534 (+86)

• Per-theater average: $3,917

• Cume to date: $87.1 million

No. 5: First Sunday (Sony/Screen Gems., PG-13)

• Gross: $9.4 million (-56%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,213 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $3,525

• Cume to date: $30 million

No. 6: National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Walt Disney, PG)

• Gross: $9.3 million (-33%)

• Weeks opened: 5

• Theaters: 2,963 (-414)

• Per-theater average: $2,568

• Cume to date: $199.2 million

No. 7: Mad Money (Overture Films, PG-13)

• Gross: $9.2 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2,470

• Per-theater average: $3,077

No. 8: Alvin and the Chipmunks (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

• Gross: $9.2 million (-26%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 2,962 (-422)

• Per-theater average: $2,330

• Cume to date: $198.5 million

No. 9: I Am Legend (Warner Bros., PG-13)

• Gross: $5.7 million (-40%)

• Weeks opened: 6

• Theaters: 2,525 (-828)

• Per-theater average: $1,929

• Cume to date: $248.2 million

No. 10: Atonement (Focus Features, R)

• Gross: $5.6 million (+13%)

• Weeks opened: 7

• Theaters: 1,291 (+341)

• Per-theater average: $3,687

• Cume to date: $32.8 million

OTHER OPENINGS

Cassandra's Dream (Weinstein Co., PG-13)

• Gross: $450,000

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 107

• Per-theater average: $3,430

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