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Cloverfield Shoots for the Stars (Wars)

January 22nd, 2008

Records fell this week as Cloverfield became the biggest film ever to debut on Martin Luther King long weekend, as well as setting a few other records (including topping Star Wars long standing January opening record). This helped the weekend bring in $155 million over three days, which was 19% more than last weekend. It was also 56% more than the same weekend last year. However, since Martin Luther King long weekend was a week earlier that isn't a fair comparison. Compared to last year's Martin Luther King long weekend, 2008 was ahead by 21% over three days and 19% over four.

By the time Friday's box office estimates were in, it was clear Cloverfield was going to live up to the hype. In fact, it was clear it was going to top the hype by a clear margin. In the end, the film earned $40.06 million over three days and $46.15 million after four. Both of those figures are records for biggest Martin Luther King weekends (openings and all-time), as well as biggest January opening and weekend. The film also earned great reviews, especially compared to the average January release. However, there is still an issue with the film's legs as it showed dramatic declines as the weekend progressed. This could result in a major collapse next weekend, but if it can avoid that, it will become the first $100 million movie of the year.

Had Cloverfield not opened this weekend, 27 Dresses would have been a major story. Its three-day opening of $23.01 million and its four day opening of $27.44 million both placed in the top five all-time openings for Martin Luther King long weekend. However, with the number of records broken by Cloverfield, it feels like a footnote. Without the free press, the film's reviews will take their toll, but even so, topping original expectations should not be an issue now and it will be a solid early hit.

The Bucket List was even stronger than expected, taking in $14.08 million / $16.18 million to give it a running tally of more than $40 million. This is already more than original expectations and it has likely already topped Rob Reiner's previous release and should go on to be his biggest hit since A Few Good Men.

Juno matched expectations with $9.95 million / $11.96 million over the weekend for a total of $87.09 million after 48 days of release. Given the film's performances with the Oscar voters, it is unfathomable to think it will collapse now, and this puts the movie about 10 days away from $100 million during its run.

First Sunday had the worst drop-off in the top five. In fact, it had the worst drop-off in the top ten, down more than 55% to $7.80 million / $9.40 million over the weekend, but this was to be expected and matches Thursday's prediction nearly perfectly. Overall the film has just over $30 million, which should be more than enough to keep the studio happy.

Just missing the top five by the narrowest of margins was Mad Money with $7.74 million / $9.34 million. This is hardly a great start and with reviews that are right on the 20% mark, which is normally the dividing line between poor films and complete disasters, it is unlikely to recover over the coming weeks.

Moving onto the sophomore class, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie managed to decline less than 40% to $2.61 million over the three-day weekend and $7.49 million after 10 days. On the other hand, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale plummeted nearly 75% to just $766,000 over the weekend and $4.34 million in total. With a per theater average of $572, I can't imagine a lot of theater owners will be willing to keep this movie come Friday.

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Filed under: Juno, The Bucket List, Cloverfield, First Sunday, Mad Money, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, 27 Dresses