EDITORIALS

Sunday Discussion: Has Cloverfield Changed Hollywood Forever?

by
January 20, 2008

Cloverfield

In our Sunday Discussion a couple of weeks back, we discussed Why Does January Suck for Movies. I mentioned in the article that January through April is the pre-summer dumping grounds for studios, and the reason it is that way is because movies usually perform very poorly during those four months. One of the biggest exceptions to this rule was Zack Snyder's 300 last year. And when those sort of anomalies happen, they change Hollywood forever. Cloverfield is poised to make over $40 million by the end of this weekend, breaking every January record ever. So now I'm wondering, what sort of effect will this actually have?

Cloverfield has been a point of discussion on FS.net for quite some time. With everything that is has done, including the hype it has built and now the money it has made, we just can't stop talking about it. From that previous Sunday Discussion, here's my paragraph on the film's January opening.

The other movie that I have a feeling could blow up into something big is Cloverfield. Universal tried a similar thing with Smokin' Aces last year. There was an excessive amount of buzz based on the trailers and it just kept building. Then they moved it to a late-January release and it did "okay," but not extraordinary at the box office. And in the end I hated it! I'm hoping Cloverfield is the exact opposite, and I have a good feeling it will be. If it is as successful as all of the buzz is promising, then it will yet again shake up the industry. A mid-January opening will never be looked upon the same again, nor will it ever be as successful again.

In a separate article talking about Will Cloverfield Live Up to the Hype?, I again questioned both sides of Cloverfield: if it does well, it will change Hollywood forever; if it does poorly, it will be another Snakes on a Plane and make the internet as a marketing medium look bad. Thankfully, it did well, it did VERY well.

Early reports are saying that Cloverfield will make an estimated $41 million from Friday to Sunday, not counting the holiday on Monday. This breaks the previous 3-day record set by Star Wars: Special Edition in 1997 of $35.9 million AND breaks the 4-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend record (for this same weekend) set by Black Hawk Down in 2002 of $33.6 million. Two records already shattered and more are on the way! I'm sure this will perform strongly through January, as the response has been quite positive. Head over to Box Office Mojo for the full box office report.

Since Cloverfield has broken every January record, not only am I happy as hell, but that means Hollywood is going to be looking at this as a prime example for January success. Expect another gimmicky monster movie in either January of 2009 or 2010 - that's guaranteed. How exactly will this change Hollywood? How will the studios respond? And most importantly, I'm wondering if this means January could turn into something better than dumping grounds for bad movies. One thing is for sure - Hollywood will soon begin to recognize how powerful internet buzz really is!

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  • Stephen
    I hope this means more good movies for January from now on.
  • Keith
    I think we will see the most change in production and marketing style. A monster movie for $25 million??? now a big draw for this film was that it was documented from the perspective of people experiencing the event, which could be the largest factor in its initial success. the marketing was fantastic as we all know. the trailer and ads never even showed the monster and yet it is doing exceedingly well (OK there was that one shot where you see a piece of it walking besides the skyscrapers). This is the first time that I can recall the marketing campaign for a monster movie being made in the fashion of a suspense thriller; the suspense and anticipation created genuine interest. The reveal was saved for the film. As far as January turning into a better time for movies, it will hopefully happen, but I dont think hollywood execs will change their gameplan because one new monster movie, that was not typical in the least, did well.
  • http://movieguyreviews4u.blogspot.com Ryan
    I don't think this will "change" Hollywood, but will definitley have studios take more intrest in the month of Jan. But not only is 'Cloverfield' doing good but '27 Dresses' is probably more of a shock to me at least with a 4 day of about $30M just for that!
  • Kenny
    In the UK January has been pretty good for movies - had No Country For Old Men out on Friday and Sweeney Todd on Friday coming - then Cloverfield on the 1st of February and Juno and There Will Be Blood on the 8th! Annoyingly delayed from the American release dates, but obviously they don't care so much about when the movies come out here. By the way, is there any clever ploy as to why most films are so delayed between the American and British releases? Or is it simply down to logistics? Cloverfield looks immense - saw the trailer when I say Sweeney Todd preview yesterday - and I really hope it lives up to the hype (which, by the sounds of it, it has!)
  • http://www.myspace.com/kail2007 Kail
    Mad Money was better.
  • James
    And over the whole MLK weekend it would end-up very close to 50 million. I think Paramount should release Cloverfield sequels in January making them sort of like a January event.
  • Roy
    How will this change Hollywood? Here is an idea... Maybe what they should reserve this time for is movies where they are taking a known risk. 300 before it came out was a risk, Cloverfield is the same situation. What they should be doing is instead of changing the whole dynamic of January through April, they should take bigger risks on a handful of films and release it during this time where there is not much competition.
  • http://blog.myspace.com/Shero_Rauf shero
    There will be no change ...Hollywood will still have two faces one good with great movies and another with ripoffs and low budget movies not just in money but in ideas and in making ... What I can say is Hollywood are going to be worst ... everyone who have money and never had any idea about movie making will make a movie .. And here is the problem .... there is small companies who try to lie and steal the money of the audience and that will continue to be more and more because there is no rules in Hollywood ... Or we should wait to have a revolution inside Hollywood ... then maybe the situation will get better ... I am not agree with ripoff movies...I am not agree with movies that have nothing to add to the history of movie making ... I will be agree even to make a low budget movie but with something new in it ...but how many Blair witch projects we have ? just one ... !!! Cloverfield just another masterpiece ... but just one movie can't change things against a lot of other movies that they should not called movies ... until we will have a movie like 300 we will have another 100 movies that you feel sorry that one day you became a movie maker ... Hollywood need a revolution ...and I hope it will happen Hollywood clean up your self ! :-)
  • http://blog.myspace.com/Shero_Rauf shero
    Kail said : Mad Money was better. ................................ Kail I don't know you but tell me who asked you if mad money is better or not ? what mad money have to do with our discussion: Has Cloverfield Changed Hollywood Forever? ? you mean mad money is a way to change Hollywood ? You mean mad money was better than Cloverfield ? Or you mean that you are a musician and have nothing to do with movies ? Please explain that because you don't make any point here ... and next time learn to write and don't make such a mistake ...
  • John
    I give the movie 2 stars out of 5. Cloverfield was a fast money maker, that ripped off the people who spent money to see something great. There was only two, 12 second scenes, that showed almost the whole creature, almost. The rest of the picture was a fast foot, blurred half body glimpse as it went by the next building, or like watching two boxers fighting from 6 inched away! If this is future of the movie industry, to take people for every dime they have and give a joke of a movie in return so they came make as much money as possible and without the need of spending money on good solid actors, then Hollywood is sadly going the way of the Doo-Doo bird.
  • Heckle0
    See i feel the exact opposite of Alex(as usual) I loved Smokin Aces but Cloverfield was just ok....
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    Yea Heckle0, but that has nothing to do with the fact that Cloverfield was a much bigger success than Smokin Aces and will drastically change Hollywood... :)
  • Yourmom
    Cloverfield is leaps and bounds ahead of 27 Dresses and Mad Money. The movie was excellent and was intense from start to finish (Coney Island, Apartment, and Party scenes excluded.) Cloverfield is a movie that will revolutionize Hollywood and movies in general, for years to come.
  • http://www.myspace.com/kail2007 Kail
    Shero said: Kail I don't know you but tell me who asked you if mad money is better or not ? what mad money have to do with our discussion: Has Cloverfield Changed Hollywood Forever? ? you mean mad money is a way to change Hollywood ? You mean mad money was better than Cloverfield ? Or you mean that you are a musician and have nothing to do with movies ? Please explain that because you don't make any point here … and next time learn to write and don't make such a mistake … ............................................. It was a joke. I'm kinda wondering how much free time you must have to take my joke seriously and then ask me a plethora of questions. I will answer one question: I am a musician, but I'm also a movie lover, and I also make movies. I know, it's amazing, someone can do multiple things. To add to this, Mad Money was not only better than Cloverfield, but it was the single greatest feature film ever made.
  • jason_md2020
    If there is only one thing I hope Hollywood learns from Cloverfield its this: CHARACTERS. The movie didn't start with the beast (which I mentally started calling "Fluffy" Don't ask. I don't know why either.) It started with people for a good 20 minutes, getting to know them, their relationships & their backstory, before throwing them in the meat grinder. That way you actually care about what happens to them. Other things the film did right: Bitch as you might about not getting a good look at the monster, that's what makes it more frightening. This is why the first Alien film was scary,you didn't get a good look at it until the end. Besides, if you're running for your life down the streets of NYC, are you really gonna stop & adjust your lens to get a clear shot of what's trying to kill you? And the last thing, it didn't talk down and over-explain things. Most movies in the scifi/horror genre, stop the action and do a sequence explaining where it came from, what it's weaknesses are, our plan of attack, blah, blah, blah. This was definately more realistic. Grab your friends, try to get to your woman & get the hell out of town before you die. Is it from space? From the Deep? From Wisconsin? Who cares! It's here, it's pissed. Run! This film (well, Hud's home video really...) kicked serious ass. I actually want to go see it again, and I can't remember the last time I 've wanted to do that.
  • avoidz
    I only hope this "Cloverfield High" that fanboys are on at the moment will subside and we can get to talking about movies again. Amazing what a well-oiled hype machine can do to people.
  • Sinner
    For those that can handle & appreciate the shaky "real life" cam, it was very well made. Almost perfect CGI. Did it live up to the hype? No. How could it. Hype is exactly that; hype. It was refreshing to see a new & imaginitive giant monster film. Maybe 3.5 out of 5. Very good movie.
  • Nate
    avoidz, why so negative? Don't be such a party pooper.
  • http://? FWBJR
    Just saw it last night and I have only one word to describe it, INTENSE! My only big complaint is they tried TO hard to make it look like the guy was shooting with a hand held camera! Way to shaky. If he would have stayed still for 2 minutes I would have liked it more. Drunk or sober you don't shake that much with a hand held. Look forward to the sequel.
  • George
    I saw the movie with my kids. I thought it was fabulous. This was not an intellectual judgment, but rather a result of the uncanny way the movie grabbed me emotionally. There was something either about the camera work, or the plot, or both, that really did suck you into the experience so you felt as if you were there. You really felt you were one of the participants. It was unparalleled in my experience. When the Army first shows up and the kids are out the street watchin them fight the monster, extreme. When you are in a crashing helicopter with alarmas and buzzers going off, extremely exhilerating. I would rank this as one of the most creative movies of the last 20 years -- right up there with the First Star Wars movie, and Lord of the Rings the Two Towers. Definitely a classic.

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