[UPDATE: Estimates for a the regular Fri-Sun weekend put Cloverfield box office at $41MM. I'll update this for the 4 day weekend on Tuesday evening.]
It's looking like Cloverfield may either come close to, or may actually break the 4 day box office record for January. It's a 4 day weekend due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday (I refuse to abbreviate that to "MLK").
Dollar for dollar it looks like it's going to be a no-brainer and will surpass the current record holder Titanic. Back in January 1998 the big T brought in $36MM over the 4 day weekend and right now Cloverfield is tracking to come in somewhere between $40 and $50MM (I'm betting closer to 40).
So why do I say "may" break the record? Because I believe that to do a true "apples to apples" comparison when it comes to a recent movie breaking the box office record of a movie that came out 10 years ago, you have to factor ticket price inflation into the number. If the average price of a ticket for a movie in 1998 was $4.69 and today it is $6.82 (those estimates come from Box Office Mojo), a movie today could break a record set by a movie back then even if 30% fewer people show up to see the movie.
So how much does Cloverfield have to bring in this weekend to really break that record?
Now considering the way it's tracking, that's not out of the question, but it's not a "lock" either. According to the Cloverfield discussion following my review, while most people who've taken the time to leave their thoughts on the film loved it, those who didn't, really hated it.
I have read about many instances of people leaving the theater during the movie due to feeling queasy due to the camera work plus it seems that a lot of folks just don't seem to "get it" and wanted something more conventional including more screen time for the monster and an explanation of what was going on.
Unfortunately I didn't put this in print at the time, but after seeing the movie I did predict that audiences were going to be split on this movie.
The film is being rated pretty high over at Rotten Tomatoes, with a 77% positive overall rating and a 69% positive for their "cream of the crop" reviewers. And over at IMDB.com, where the ratings represent more of the "average joe" it's sitting at 8.3 out of 10 (although I often disagree with the consensus over there).
When the final numbers are posted Tuesday I'll let you know what they are.
Oh, and I can't help but point out that in its opening weekend, here in the U.S. Cloverfield will earn probably as much as the God-awful Aliens vs Predator: Requiem has since its opening almost 4 weeks ago. So for those of you that slammed my review and have been defending that POS as "an awesome movie" - put that in your pipe and smoke it.