Paramount film has monster weekend

Paramount’s monster pic “Cloverfield” grossed an estimated $5 million on Monday, bringing its opening haul for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend to a record-breaking $46 million from 3,441 theaters.

Moviegoers also stayed sweet on 20th Century Fox’s Katherine Heigl romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” which grossed an estimated $4.9 million Monday for a four-day cume of –fittingly — $27.3 million from 3,057 runs, according to Rentrak.

The combined strength of “Dresses” and “Cloverfield” boosted the box office to record levels for the Martin Luther King frame, as well as the month of January itself. It’s virtually unprecedented for two new releases to do so much business on the same weekend at this time of year.

Holiday frame’s other wide opener was Diane Keaton-Queen Latifah-Katie Holmes starrer “Mad Money,” the first film distributed by Overture Films. Crime caper grossed an estimated $9.2 million from 2,470 theaters for the four days, putting it at No. 8 overall. Overture paid roughly $6 million to pick up domestic distribution rights.

Weekend was up by as much as 19% over last year. Until now, year-to-date has been running behind last year. Now, box office revenues are up by 9%, and attendance 4.8%, according to Media by Numbers.

“Cloverfield” sports the best opening of all time for the month of January, and also is the 10th best opening for Paramount ever. It is the first production from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot film shingle, which has a lucrative first-look deal with Par.

“Dresses” is the eighth best January opener on the books.

Both movies were made on modest budgets. “Cloverfield” cost $25 million, “Dresses” less than $30 million. “Dresses” is a co-production of Fox 2000 and Spyglass Entertainment.

In its second weekend in wide release, Warner Bros.’ “The Bucket List” grossed $16.1 million for the four-day holiday frame from 2,915 theaters for a cume of $43.7 million. Pic placed No. 3 behind “Cloverfield” and “Dresses.”

Also in its second weekend was Sony-Screen Gems’ “First Sunday,” which came in No. 5 for the four days, grossing an estimated $9.4 million from 2,213 theaters for a cume of $30 million.

Two pics ended the weekend poised to cross the $200 million mark at the domestic box office: Disney sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” ($199.2 million) and Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” ($198.6 million).

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