Paramount thriller tops box office with $2.6 million

TOKYO — Monster pic “Cloverfield” hit No. 1 at the Japanese weekend B.O., following its April 5 bow on 235 screens. The pic earned 26.4 million yen ($2.6 million)  Saturday and Sunday. This was 30.2% more than “Dreamgirls,” which opened on 287 screens and finished with $19.3 million and only 1.2% less than “Babel,” which bowed on 351 screens and ended with $20 million.

 Helmer Matt Reeves, producer J.J. Abrams and members of the pic’s cast and staff came to Japan to tubthump for the pic. Also distrib Paramount mounted an intensive campaign centered on the Web, which succeeded in drawing the target teens and twenties demo, as well as dating couples.

 Paramount accordingly expects “Cloverfield,” which was inspired by “Godzilla” and other Japanese monster epics, to hit the $20 million mark.

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