by Michael D. Sellers A month or so ago I blogged that the studios were excited and all of us involved with MovieBank and Quantum should keep an eye on “Cloverfield”, the JJ Abrams (“Lost”) produced $30M monster flick which boasts no stars and is shot as if what the audience is seeing is raw footage from a dead teen’s video cam. It’s had huge internet buzz. Well, it opened yesterday. Here’s the result, in a report from iFilm: 

Paramount’s 2008 is off to a spectacular start. The J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield has delivered a monster opening day of an estimated $18.25M, and it will easily coast to both the All-Time January 3-Day record and the All-Time 4-Day MLK weekend record. The Friday number is a tough call because there’s no clear answer about where Paramount will add Thursday post-midnight sneak preview business. That means that there’s a slightly larger margin of error in my Early Friday Estimate than usual.There will almost certainly be a dip in business Friday-to-Saturday, maybe as much as 15%. Even with that sort of “front-loading,” this $25M-budgeted internet-driven phenomenon will likely reach a staggering 3-day of $48M, easily becoming the best January opening ever. By Monday night, fueled by the MLK school holiday, Cloverfield should set a new record for the long weekend with an estimated $52M.Paramount isn’t the only studio celebrating this weekend. Fox’s 27 Dresses, starring Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy, Knocked Up), has far exceeded industry expectations by “walking down the aisle” with $8.65M on opening day, which should translate to a $26M 3-day and a 4-day long weekend of approximately $30.7M. That will make this tepidly-reviewed romantic comedy the all-time 7th-biggest January opening and the all-time #4 MLK weekend 4-day opening.ALL-TIME TOP 10 MARTIN LUTHER KING 4-DAY WEEKENDS1. Cloverfield – $52M (estimate)2. Black Hawk Down – $33.6M3. Along Came Polly – $32.4M4. 27 Dresses – $30.7M (estimate)5. Coach Carter – $29.1M6. Save the Last Dance – $27.5M7. Stomp the Yard – $25.8M8. Snow Dogs – $23.7M9. Kangaroo Jack – $21.8M10. Racing Stripes – $18.8MALL-TIME TOP 10 JANUARY 3-DAY WEEKENDS1. Cloverfield – $48M (estimate)2. Star Wars – Special Edition – $35.9M3. Black Hawk Down – $28.6M4. Big Momma’s House 2 – $27.73M5. Along Came Polly – $27.72M6. Underworld: Evolution – $26.85M7. 27 Dresses – $26M (estimate)8. Coach Carter – $24.18M9. White Noise – $24.11M10. Save the Last Dance – $23.4MAfter the 2 new major releases, The Bucket List (Warner Bros) is 3rd, both for the day, with $4.08M, and, for the 4-day, with an expected $16.96M. Juno (Fox Searchlight) continues to excel during awards season. The quirky little comedy added another $3.03M on Friday. And it appears to be headed for an $11.66M 4-day, putting the Oscar-worthy film’s cume at over $86M by Tuesday morning. Sony holdover First Sunday rounds out the Friday top 5 with $2.33M. The Ice Cube/Tracey Morgan comedy should reach $9.35M for the 4-day holiday weekend.The new company Overture has disappointed with its first release Mad Money. With a cast that includes Oscar winner Diane Keaton, Oscar nominee Queen Latifah and the increasingly-creepy Katie Holmes, the caper/heist comedy managed only $2.25M on Friday, and it’ll stumble to a an estimated $8.2M 4-day, only #7 for the period.  

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