Cloverfield turned out to be not quite the equal of 1998's Godzilla in its opening weekend, but the monster movie nevertheless became the biggest hit of the year as it took in $41 million domestically. By contrast, Godzilla earned an estimated $55.7 million, but that was during the Memorial Day holiday. Moreover, ticket sales for Godzilla quickly trailed off, and the movie wound up with a domestic gross of $136 million. Cloverfield is now expected to exceed that figure. What's more, Godzilla had a budget of $130 million; Cloverfield was made for just $25 million. Debuting in second place was 20th Century Fox's 27 Dresses, which also exceeded prediction with sales of $22.4 million. Two other newcomers did not fare as well. Mad Money took in $7.7 million. Opening in limited release, Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream performed reasonably well, given generally unfavorable reviews. The movie earned about $501,000 in 107 theaters, for an average of $4,700 per screen. Surprisingly, the film with the highest per-screen average was the French animated film Persepolis which took in $281,000 in 30 theaters, or an average of $9,400 per theater. The overall box office was up 39 percent over the same weekend a year ago with ticket sales of $135.3 million for the top 12 films.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Cloverfield, $41 million; 2. 27 Dresses, $22.4 million; 3. The Bucket List, $15.2 million; 4. Juno, $10.3 million; 5. National Treasure: Book of Secrets, $8.1 million; 6. First Sunday, $7.8 million; 7. Mad Money, $7.7 million; 8. Alvin and the Chipmunks, $7 million; 9. I Am Legend, $5.1 million; 10. Atonement, $4.8 million.