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Cloverfield = Monster Hit January 21, 2008

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: 1-18-08/Cloverfield , trackback

Cloverfield, the monster movie produced by Star Trek producer/director JJ Abrams and Star Trek exec. producer Bryan Burk, scared up over $40 Million in its opening weekend (domestically). This makes it the biggest January opening of all time. The film is also playing strongly in the handful of foreign markets where it has opened so far. All in all the low-budget film has grossed over $50 Million (which means it has already in the black…very rare for an opening weekend).

Of course the millions seeing Cloverfield are also seeing the new Star Trek trailer. This is good exposure as many of the target market for Star Trek are general film goers. For the most part Cloverfield is getting good reviews — currently ranking 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is an indication that the film will have good word of mouth and therefore have ‘legs’ as they say in the biz.

Bottom line for Trekkies is that Cloverfield proves that JJ Abrams (and Bryan Burk) can deliver a well-made and well-received product. In this case it has the added benefit of increasing the exposure for the new Star Trek. Plus this is JJ Abrams first project as part of his multipic deal at Paramount and so his stock is up at the studio, which means that he will will have the power to be left alone to finish his Star Trek movie without the interference from the suits.

Have you seen Cloverfield…and did you stay until the end of the credits? If not you missed something, although it takes some clever sound manipulation to fully understand it….as this video shows.

Related: review of Cloverfield

Data Source: Box Office Mojo


1. stallion (Archer is the best) - January 21, 2008

First. Cool I can’t wait to see the movie.

2. Pete359 - January 21, 2008

No “I’m first!” comment Muahahaha!

Cloverfield rocks! Let the sequel being!!!

3. Harry Ballz - January 21, 2008

Of course Cloverfield opened BIG….look at the trailer it had to pull people in!! :)

4. Pete359 - January 21, 2008



5. Irishtrekkie - January 21, 2008

producer/director JJ Abrams haves a great furture ahead of him, i hope if the next star trek is good , he will come back and do more .

6. Gene L. Coon (was the Better Gene because he) was a U. S. Marine - January 21, 2008

Whoa. Just happened to be on-line, and caught a new thread. Never saw one born before.

Haven’t seen Cloverfield.

I took the three little ones to the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything/Veggie Tales movie today. There was a big controversy over bringing back the original cucumber who played Larry the Cucumber. Larry had been sliced for a Greek salad a few movies back, and the new director said they couldn’t figure out a way to have Original Larry appear with out feeling like it was just a VeggieFanBoy- move to shove him in there. (Having been sliced and all). There were a few Larry supporters outside the theater dressed as pickles, but it they were pretty quiet. The new Larry seemed fine to me.

7. Darth Quixote - January 21, 2008

I’m really looking forward to the music in STXI. The Cloverfield Overture that played over the credits was pretty frakkin’ sweet. Michael Giacchino seems to be a pretty good composer.

8. Sam - January 21, 2008

I actually wasn’t a huge fan of the movie. The camera work made a friend of mine nauseous and she had to leave. Despite people being pulled into it from the previews, I would not recommend it (then again, that is just my taste in films).

9. Dick Tracy - January 21, 2008

I got it! The monster is going to be in Star Trek!

10. Paul - January 21, 2008

it was my own personal conspiracy theory that it would be Godzilla, but i wasn’t disappointed. and i just have to say that poor monster has got history’s worst case of crabs!

11. Adrian Anansi - January 21, 2008

This was one of the worse movies I have ever seen in my life. You spend more time seeing spoiled hipsters whining than you see monsters…the camera work maked me want to vomit.

12. ShawnP - January 21, 2008

#10 – LOL! That thought hadn’t crossed my mind, haha.

13. Xai - January 21, 2008

I was the monster Saturday afternoon.I thought it was a lot of fun and far less gore than a slasher film. NOT seeing the monster that much added to the suspense. Anyone thinking this was going to be an academy award film need not bother going. If you what a bit of a’s cool.

I DO NOT advise taking small children. I saw a couple with 5 and 6 year olds and felt that was almost child abuse.

14. Xai - January 21, 2008

* I saw…typo or freudian slip?

15. Elrond L. - January 21, 2008

#7: Thought the same thing. Yeah, frakking sweet. Star Trek’s music should be killer.

Anthony, thanks for clearing up that little transmission-thingie . . . we stayed past the credits, and couldn’t figure out what it was.

#6 & 10: LOL!

16. Ed - January 21, 2008

I went to see this and I got royally screwed – no Trek teaser at all!!

17. David (Flaming Wings Forever!) - January 21, 2008

This is a love it or hate it kinda movie. For me it worked, and I was able to suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the ride.

I liked the movie, and the driving force behind the trio going ‘closer’ tot he disaster was exceptionally well played. The party before the disaster strikes was also very realistic and believable.

The initial takes on the monster – much better than your inital ‘man in suit’ type of effects. The ‘sea lice’ were easily the most firghtening portion of the movie, especially when the service men start shouting ‘BITE’ like it was a bomb about to go off.

I left the movie wanting to know more.

The military seem well versed in dealing with the lice, in fact too well versed. Like some of them had trained for this.

Maybe the soon-to-be-greenlighted sequal will start with a FRONTLINE inspired segment talking about ‘the inital days of the attack, what we learned, and why our future is so bleak’.

Anyways a great, fun movie.

No soundtrack – anyone else notice that? Although you get used to it, the maelstrom of camera movements was hard to take. Once scene where Hud is too scraed to move, as his friends from across the road shout for him to look at what was coming down the street. As an audience member I wanted to grab him, and force him to look at what was coming. Very well played – a missed moment to see the monster, but you get the idea and really feel the tension.

18. Xai - January 21, 2008

david, good post

19. Mazzer - January 21, 2008

Glad it did well. Still, I’m always wary when I see “greatest [whatever month] box office of all time” because it’s usually due to ticket prices today being much, much higher than in the past.

Adjusted-for-inflation lists are much more representative of how many people actually went to see the top titles.

20. I AM THX-1138 - January 21, 2008

I took my wife and oldest son to it and we all three had a great time. We were all into the viral websites and build-up and thought that it added to the experience. I often would go to and check out all the latest info that was coming out and saw some great videos that never made it to the final movie. If you happen to go to the site, check out the videos of the Chuai station oil rig being destroyed by something unseen under the water. I am also wondering what all the connection to the fictional Tagruato Corp. and Slusho and T.I.D.O. Wave have to do with the monster. Maybe in the sequel we will find out.
That monster was a complete freak! And the character of Hud was a great comic relief for the flick, in my opinion.

21. Son - January 21, 2008

I plan on seeing it soon…but if I don’t see it in theaters I’ll definitely be buying it. Straight up, I already know I’ll like the film. Plus, I don’t mind helping out JJ Abrams one bit!

22. Ryan - January 21, 2008

One of the arguments that people make for hating this movie is that they think the camera in “unnecessarily” shaky. Honestly, if you were in the same situation, would you hold the camera for long, still shots? I for one would’ve cr*pped my pants and wouldn’t even be holding a camera. Another thing is that the movie has no story or character development. I think I’ll go through some people home movies and complain that I don’t fully understand nor care for their two-year old son’s birthday party. Bottom line, it’s just a movie designed to scare in a different way, which I felt it did. It was a great movie IMO.

23. Christopher - January 21, 2008

I was wondering what they said at the end. Thanks!

24. Michael (The real one in Texas by way of Afghanistan) - January 21, 2008

“It’s Still Alive!”

#9. Dick Tracy –
Well of course the monster is going to be in Star Trek.
And everyone will say “That is the Coolest Monster that Kirk ever fought.”
And then in Cloverfield2, it will be revealed that it is Shatner in a rubber suit.

# 6. Gene L. Coon (Etc., Etc., Etc…) –
Man you better be glad that you didn’t say anything bad about my friend,
Bob the Tomato. Poor kid get squeezed on all the time.
And, he has had a rough couple of months. First, his brother, on a world tour, disappears somewhere in Italy. And just last week his favorite aunt was in a horrible V-8 accident.

25. Papa Jim - January 21, 2008

I liked Cloverfield a lot. Though I sat too close to the screen and almost puked!

26. Prologic9 - January 21, 2008

Cloverfield isn’t in the black yet. The marketing for the film probably cost as much as the film itself did, and the theaters do get *some* of that revenue as well. (even if its only a bit)

27. Tom in Seattle - January 21, 2008

#6 this is now the second time I have posted in a fan site.

OH MY GOD YOU HAVE SOOOOO FIGURED OUT what all this about….It’s not about how big the nacelles are or how the hell is it’s going to get into the air/space. Its all about how the hell to get Larry back into the dam thing, ROFL!!. Oh and by the I liked the new Larry also even though I think Cucumbers are not as cute as as Bob the Tomato….HEY I am in touch with my vegetable side!!!

28. Michael (The real one in Texas by way of Afghanistan) - January 21, 2008

#26. Prologic9 –
Well, if Anthony says it is in the Black already, I believe it.
After all, he does have inside info.

29. S. John Ross - January 21, 2008

It’s good that lots of folks got to see the Trek trailer, for whatever reason :)

30. Anthony Pascale - January 21, 2008

RE: black
bear in mind that for opening weekends the studios get a huge percentage of the gross…and I think for Clovefield they were demanding top dollar. Also I have been told by someone I trust that the 25 million reported budget is ‘high’

regardless Paramount couldn’t be happier with the numbers and the team behind the film

31. Noleuser - January 21, 2008

Cloverfield was a very good movie. Those complaining about the shaky cameras need to man up and not be sissies.

32. johnconner - January 21, 2008

Actually, I won’t complain about the shaky camerawork when trying to survive the monster attacks throughout the city; that was very effective.

Thing was, it was just as shaky during the party segment at the beginning. THAT’S when it bothered me. Come on dude, settle! :)

But no bigs. That was a killer movie. I’m such a Godzilla fan, I’m gonna be thinking about this one a while. Probably see it again in the theater.

33. Doug - January 21, 2008

I liked the movie a lot, herky-jerky motion of the camera and all.. the “Blair Witch”type of photography added to the “you are there” feel for the movie.

This is what the “Godzilla” remake of a few years back should have been.

The sparing use of showing the monster was quite effective. I’m of the old school that says “less is more.” Oft times what you don’t see is far more scary than what you do (which is why I prefer old scary movies to the new gore fest of today’s horror genre).

All I can say is that if I lived in NYC, I would not be able to watch this film as some of the scenes are extremely reminscent of the events of 9/11.

I kept thinking that being in NYC at night with these events going on would be horrifying…. and quite claustrophobic, especially when the city’s lights started going out.

I highly recommend the film.

34. Sci-Fi Bri - January 21, 2008

Lets not underestimate the buying power of the Star Trek fan base. I, for one, only went to Cloverfield because of the teaser. I’ll bet that the decision to add the teaser to Cloverfield helped the bottom line.

now, I’m glad i saw the movie, but just to be clear, i saw it because of the star trek connection.

35. Sci-Fi Bri - January 21, 2008

Oh, and we took our 7 month old, he slept through most of the movie… (dont yell at me, he had ear plugs)

36. James Heaney - Wowbagger - January 21, 2008

Re: the bit after the closing credits. (Yes, I stayed for the whole film, and had NO idea what was said… neither did the two elderly couples who were the only ones to wait that long. Playing your cards to close to your chest, Team Abrams!)

Anyhow, seeing what the creepy voice actually said, only one thing came into my head:

“We do what we must because we can
For the good of all of us
Except the ones who are dead.
But there’s no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake
And the science gets done and you make a neat gun
For the people who are still alive.”

Yes, the oversaturation of the Internet with Portal jokes continues onto Star Trek sites. Bwahahaha.

As for Cloverfield: my girlfriend and I between us came up with several theories: the monster was Godzilla (mentioned above), the monster was Cthulu (making it the greatest nerd joke in history), the monster was the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, and, my personal favorite, the monster was The Monster from Lost, and Cloverfield would prove to be essentially nothing more than an incredibly elaborate clue for the Lost ARG. The eventual revelation of what my girlfriend called a “gigantic deformed camel fetus from space” was something of a letdown.

It was an okay movie. I’m not huge on monster flicks, but the characters were written in a style that has become increasingly recognizable to me as I’ve studied Abrams’ works: interesting enough but with an air of superficiality. What made me happiest about the movie was that I really had no idea what was going to happen from one moment to the next, and that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The ending was a bit of a downer. But, while I was watching, I was still bitter about the failure of the Movie Theater Lords to include the Star Trek trailer, so maybe I didn’t give Cloverfield a fair shake. The camera work did not bother me at all, and the special effects were -very- impressive to my unprofessional eye.

What’s certain is that its success bodes well for Star Trek.

37. OR Coast Trekkie - January 22, 2008

#6 – As someone who works in a certain field in which Veggie Tales is an oft-used movie, I appreciated your joke very much.

38. Stanky McFibberich - January 22, 2008

That hand-held camera stuff has got to go. Hack.

39. fakesteve - January 22, 2008

40. doubleofive - January 22, 2008

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I loved the idea of the hand-held camera, but in the end, it made me ill. I’d see it again, but I’ll take some dramamine first.

41. FREAKAZOID - January 22, 2008

Cloverfield is a great film. I still can’t believe all the complaining of the “shaking camera” and the “no story” camps. What were people expecting? War and Peace?

I am in agreement with #22 Ryan:
“I think I’ll go through some people home movies and complain that I don’t fully understand nor care for their two-year old son’s birthday party. Bottom line, it’s just a movie designed to scare in a different way, which I felt it did. It was a great movie IMO.”

42. Aelora - January 22, 2008

#36 “As for Cloverfield: my girlfriend and I between us came up with several theories: the monster was Godzilla (mentioned above), the monster was Cthulu (making it the greatest nerd joke in history), the monster was the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, and, my personal favorite, the monster was The Monster from Lost…”

According to those paying far more attention than me (I was still on a high from the Star Trek teaser), the Dharma Initiative from Lost was seen both at the beginning, and apparently the symbol of the Dharma Initiative can be seen at one point on the monster. So, thinking it’s the monster from Lost might not be too far of a stretch…

43. star trackie - January 22, 2008

I think hand held camera work, used to punctuate a certain action scene is a good thing. Hell, TOS used it all the time….The scene is taking place…nice and even…then a fight breaks loose and they bring in the hand held. It’s a time honored technique that works. Using it from the first frame to the last, however, in order to to make it look real, like Mission Impossible 3 or a host of modern TV shows, is a bit annoyting.

Cloverfield was no exception, only it was Mission: Impossible times 10. Shaky cam…? More like jerky cam. I undersand WHY they did it, for the whole “Blair witch” effect..I just don’t think it worked. I think this movie would ve made a great movie, in the traditional movie sense, but the great experiment of making it look like real home video failed because the people didn’t seem real. The acting and dialog was right out of a scripted movie…so it felt like a scripted movie shot with a handy cam rather than someone’s home movies..which was the intent.

Interesting experiment, but after hearing reactions after the film ended, I’ll be most interested to see if this film has legs to last.

44. Smike van Dyke - January 22, 2008

So Cloverfield is actually a LOST spin-off? Sounds neat. Have to see it ASAP…

As for the success of the film. It’s a relief the name JJ Abrams brings in the masses. Excellent “rehearsal” for the launch of Trek…man, Cloverfield made more on one 4-day-weekend than Nemesis did throughout its entire run!

45. johnconner - January 22, 2008

I don’t mean to be insensitive, but it’s beyond me how someone can look at a work of pure fiction – i.e. a monster attacks NYC – and draw parallels to 911. Oh, you can if you step back with a dry eye towards deconstruction, but seriously, we ALL know what Godzilla movies are like. He smashes things, just like Hulk. It’s unrealistic to think that the monster’s not gonna do that out of some respect for 911. And yes, I fully support the location; the head of the Statue of Liberty is a nice touch. Not only iconic, but a great homage to Escape from New York (the poster, as J.J. has said in interviews) as well.

46. earthclanbootstrap - January 22, 2008

The shaky camera never made me feel ill, but I guess if you are prone to that sort of thing it would kind of suck. I really quite enjoyed it and actually was in favor of the lack of resolution and kind of shallow New York hipster characters. It was a brief snapshot of a really sucky night in New York and it didn’t ask you to sit through hours and hours of the super extended version of “JFK” or “The Lord of the Rings” (not that there is anything wrong with that). I took as nothing more and nothing less than a short, stylish suspense/monster movie that didn’t have to resort to buckets of gore. And it had the funniest line I’ve seen in a movie in quite a while – “Are you aware of Garfield?”

Anyway, the Trek teaser did bring a chill up my spine!

47. British Naval Dude - January 22, 2008

… I dunno… I guess it’s once again OK to destroy them thar buildings in NYC on film? I think it a bit distasteful and probably won’t see the film fur that… so ya can take my uniformed opinion outta here fur me being pig-headed.

Oh, I know it just be a movie…

NYC is the main locale for disaster films fur we all know the landscape.
But really? It seems to me that the Statue of her Liberty and thar Golden Gate Bridge take a’banging in every other action film that comes out… What’s wrong with the St. Louie Arch? Chuck that in the next film…

48. Dr. Image - January 22, 2008

That audio clip is great. Didn’t stay to the very end of the credits, but love the overture!
This movie is destined to be studied in film schools for years . People don’t realize that every frame of the “shaky camera” effect was meticulously composed for maximum effect.
The visceral effect of this movie was far more intense than I expected. The initially boistrous crowd in the theater went silent soon after it started, and clapped at the end.
For anyone else who liked it, check out my comments at #49 here-

Oh yeah, the trailer! Loved the style it was shot in. It worked!
I now have no doubt that we’re in for something very special.

49. CW - January 22, 2008



50. I AM THX-1138 - January 22, 2008

BND, I think you mean the Brooklyn Bridge. Golden Gate is in San Francisky.

And I’ve been to New York. Played a lot of gigs there. New Yorkers are tough. The folks I know aren’t going to let a monster movie get them down. Hell, they were up and doing business shortly after 9/11, so I like to give them more credit than being so sensitive that fiction is too much to bear.

51. The Vulcanista - January 22, 2008

Putting on my Wordinista hat for a moment, I just a slight nit to pick:

When referring to September 11, it’s rendered thusly: 9/11 or 9.11.

“911” refers to the keypad numbers on the telephone to be punched if the Trek movie sux.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

52. kalabro - January 22, 2008

I loved Cloverfield–I couldn’t stand the characters (except for Hud, the cameraman). I *really* couldn’t stand Rob, the stupid leader of the stupid band of idiots. But I loved–LOVED–the monster going around tearing stuff up. It was a perfect little piece of popcorn/Milk Duds-eating SFX.

53. The Vulcanista - January 22, 2008

Re 51, let me adjust my Wordinista hat and edit the following:

I just [have] a slight nit to pick:

Typing before coffee is not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

54. Dr. Image - January 22, 2008

#53 Doing anything pre-coffee is not pretty.:)

JJ- Here’s a quote for the ad:
“Watching ‘Cloverfield’ is like riding a rollercoaster at night, blindfolded.”

55. Doug - January 22, 2008

#45: “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but it’s beyond me how someone can look at a work of pure fiction – i.e. a monster attacks NYC – and draw parallels to 911.”


Mainly, when I made the comments of parallels I was referring to the scenes when there were explosions emanating from skyscrapers, the smoke clouds and debris raining down on the streets or the people covered with the white powder after the debris rained down on them.

It looked eerily reminiscent of photos of NYC in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the WTC. And as I said earlier, if I were a NYC resident, I would have probably found that too jarringly a reminder of that day.

56. Diabolik - January 22, 2008

Have to say is was scarier than any Godzilla movie has been in a long time… the first-person effect of the video camera made you feel much more vulnerable and in danger than the usual monster flick photography.

57. British Naval Dude - January 22, 2008

Good ta know New Yorkers be tough.
I said “poor taste” rather than being all womanly sensitive and fall aparty in tears. Thar be a difference. No worries, mate, though more than a few here (and elsewhere on the sea-dial) have suggested a lack of taste.
Since when have horror films been taseful, though? ‘cept those cannibal ones…

I did mean ye Golden Gate out in Californy… seen it trashed quite a bit in films on tv and in the cinema. Canna we trash something original? I’m a’ sick of that silly ferris wheel on the Thames…

58. I AM THX-1138 - January 22, 2008

You have an excellent point. My vote for next city and landmark to be squashed would be Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

Hopefully the French will put up more of a “resistence” to the monster.

(I’ve put my foot in it, haven’t I?)

59. Greg2600 - January 22, 2008

What was the last big “blockbuster” movie that didn’t bring in a “big” opening weekend? Every movie these days, because they are planned out not to compete with anything else that weekend.

60. Closettrekker - January 22, 2008

#59–Sounds like good planning to me.

61. Gene L. Coon (was the Better Gene because he) was a U. S. Marine - January 22, 2008

#15 Elrond, #24 Real Texas Tom, #27 Tom in Seattle, #37 OR Coast Trekkie,# 49. CW
You have distinguished yourselves as the most intelligent, perceptive, and best looking people on this board. Congratulations. Well done, indeed.

One of the best things you can give someone is a smile. Good for you OR Coast, you must be doing great things with little people!

Still can’t wait to see Cloverfield. I am half thinking of playing a little midday hookey and catching a matinee. Why not? I am the boss, afterall!

62. British Naval Dude - January 22, 2008

Dear Hollywood Screenwriters’ Guild,

Please trash other beloved national monuments, besides East and West coast American icons, in your future action films. A gentleman, whose named after a film and writes in a website blog, has suggested sticking it to the Frenchies next time. I concur wholeheartedly.

British Naval Nude,
in Her Majesty’s service

THX-… mayhaps also the Arrrrrch de Triumph….

63. Rick - January 22, 2008

It’s a film that will not appeal to many. For me I loved the idea of found footage of a giant monster attack. I think some people are not getting that is the idea of this. Sure there was some artistic license taken with some of the filming, but you are along on a ride as you are filming a giant creature attacking NYC! Works for me. I do wish maybe a bit less of the creature was shown. Still it was a cool one and the crabs on it, man those little creatures were nasty!

I did well with the camera movement and I tend to get a bit motion sick at times myself. So it all worked for me. Anyways fun stuff and I can’t wait to see what this group does with TREK which will have a much different look and feel. Although blasting one of those little creatures with a phaser would be fun! ;)

64. Greg2600 - January 22, 2008

Ah, now I get it, thanks for that Rick. I too like that idea of finding the footage. However, it will never appeal to me because I loathe Godzilla movies or anything like them (just me personally). And shaky cam needs to go. They used that a lot in Saw IV and I left the theater dizzy.

65. Casparitis - January 24, 2008

Just saw Cloverfield. I was concerned the ST trailer wouldn’t show in Canada — since that happened with some of the Star Wars stuff… but was pleasantly surprised. In the context of the previews that came before, however, the trek teaser felt more than a little out of place. I loved it on the website and on here, but in the theater … awkward.

As far as Cloverfield, I can guarantee this movie is better than you think. The run-time is perfect for a camcorder battery, the shaking is not distracting (more a matter of texture than anything else), and the potential boredom of another monster flick is a non-issue because of the absolutely original take this movie has. Really nice work. Go see it before this kind of thing gets old.

66. mia - February 22, 2008

Cloverfield is the best movie ive seen in a very long time and i loved the whole idea of the com camera it was so intense.I really hope theres a sequel cause im dieing to know about cloverfeild 2.My fav actor would have to be hud hes so funny and i like the part when he asked about the time and then said that he knew it lol.
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