Box Office Tracking: Cloverfield targets $40M 4-Day

Cloverfield

The star-studded premiere of Cloverfield (Paramount) was last night (Wednesday, January 16) at the studio lot on Melrose. Young Hollywood was out in full force, including everyone from Lindsay Lohan, Patrick Stump and bandmates from Fall Out Boy and, of course, the cast of MTV’s The Hills (with LC, Audrina and Whitney not giving the time of day to Heidi and Spencer).

The film is smart, well-conceived and consistently entertaining, and, from what I can tell, the Under 30 crowd was satisfied. In other words, the movie does deliver on the months and months of hype. With a reported budget of just $25M, Cloverfield will be a cash cow for Paramount. Word-of-mouth will be strong, and the monster itself, without giving too much away, is unlike anything I’ve seen before on screen.

The industry tracking for Cloverfield demonstrates that this picture’s core demo will be Males Under 25, and that is the film industry’s “money demo.” Young males show up at theatres on opening weekend. In the case of this J.J. Abrams produced spectacle, they’re even going to turn up in significant numbers for Thursday night midnight screenings across the country.

Tracking falls short of recent blockbusters like 300 and Transformers, but Cloverfield is on the playing field. Un-Aided Awareness for the current fanboy favorite is at 10% compared to week-of Un-Aided Awareness of 17% for 300 and 26% for Transformers.  Un-Aided Awareness is the best measure of buzz and anticipation.

In terms of Total Aware, Cloverfield is at a so-so 57% compared to 63% for 300 and a staggering 94% for Transformers. In the Definite Interest column, however, the highly anticipated monster movie is showing strength.

DEFINITE INTEREST
300 – 52%
(Males Under 25 – 67%, Males 25 Plus – 59%
Females Under 25 – 32%, Females 25 Plus – 40%)

Transformers – 46%
(Males Under 25 – 58%, Males 25 Plus – 52%
Females Under 25 – 36%, Females 25 Plus – 38%)

Cloverfield – 45%
(Males Under 25 – 63%, Males 25 Plus – 43%
Females Under 25 – 38%, Females 25 Plus – 25%)

Cloverfield’s audience will be younger and more male-skewing than the other 2 blockbusters, but 63% of Males Under 25 is a huge number that will convert to ticket sales at America’s multiplexes.

This weekend, the Matt Reeves-directed Cloverfield is the First Choice of 17% of all moviegoers with a strong 36% with Males Under 25. Males 25 Plus are at 22%, which is solid as well. Here are the overall First Choice and demo breakouts for Cloverfield compared to 300 and Transformers.

FIRST CHOICE
300 – 24%
(Males Under 25 – 49%, Males 25 Plus – 26%
Females Under 25 – 7%, Females 25 Plus – 12%)

Transformers – 23%
(Males Under 25 – 33%, Males 25 Plus – 28%
Females Under 25 – 16%, Females 25 – 13%)

Cloverfield -17%
(Males Under 25 – 36%, Males 25 Plus – 22%
Females Under 25 – 6%, Females 25 Plus – 5%)

Obviously, Cloverfield will not have the available audience that was available to Transformers this past summer. The Michael Bay-directed film opened on a Monday night and grabbed about $85M before delivering a $70.5M opening weekend. It doesn’t have quite the “sizzle” that 300 had by the time it opened to $70.8M last March.

It will, however, be huge. I’m targeting $39M-$42M for Cloverfield in its opening 4-day, and there’s a chance that it may break out higher.

The other major wide release is 27 Dresses (Fox) starring Katherine Heigl. Well-known for her work on Grey’s Anatomy and a star for her turn in Knocked Up, Heigl gets a test of her box office clout in what is essentially a so-so “chick flick.”

P.S. I Love You, which opened to about $6.5M on the recent pre-Christmas weekend, is a pretty good comparable for 27 Dresses. The Hillary Swank vehicle was at 4% Un-Aided Awareness compared to 7% for the Heigl rom-com, although the Total Aware was slightly better for P.S. 67%-63%. 27 Dresses, however, hold s huge advantage in the Definite Interest column 32%-24% and in the First Choice column 11%-5%.

Partly because of its decidedly feminine title, 27 Dresses, written by the scripter of The Devil Wears Prada, Aline Brosh McKenna, and co-starring James Marsden, who made a splash in Hairspray over the summer, has almost no appeal with men. Definite Interest with Males Under 25 is at 5%, and, with Males 25 Plus, it’s only marginally better at 13%. That certainly gives this one a limited upside. Still, 27 Dresses should reach the $19M-$22M range.

Mad Money is the first title from the new company called Overture. With a cast that includes Oscar winner Diane Keaton, Oscar nominee Queen Latifah and Mrs. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, this probably seemed like a good idea when it was developed. Women of 3 generations pulling off a heist at the Federal Reserve is a reasonably clever premise, but industry tracking shows that this movie isn’t going to work.

The Total Aware for Mad Money is 70%, which means that people have heard about the movie, but it’s Definite Interest score is only 26%. Of new releases, this movie is the 3rd choice among Under 25 Females, and it’s only tied with 27 Dresses for First Choice among Females 25 Plus. This will mean a rough start for Mad Money with a meager $7M-10M.

Here are my projections for the 4-day MLK weekend:
1. Cloverfield – $40M
2. 27 Dresses – $20M
3. The Bucket List – $15.5M
4. First Sunday – $13M
5. Juno – $12M
6. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $9M
7. Mad Money – $8.5M
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $7.5M
9. I Am Legend – $6M
10. Atonement – $4M

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