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January 21 2008

"Cloverfield" a monster hit after first weekend. The monster movie written by Drew Goddard pulled down $41 million in its first weekend, which is well above its $25 million budget.

Its internet marketing strategy has been called one reason behind its success. The opening weekend could be a new record for any movie opening during the Martin Luther King holiday.

I'm really upset that everyone keeps giving all the credit for this movie to J. J. Abrams!!! :( The reviews and news articles act as if he directed and wrote the movie!
You could totally tell that Drew wrote it. :) The dialogue was very much like something you might hear in Buffy! :)
I didn't see the movie and have no idea what happens, but with a 41 mill opening on a 25 mill budget, think we might be seeing Cloverfield 2: The Return
Cloverfield is interesting for so many reasons from a benchmark point of view. It was incredibly hyped because it wasn't shown in advance. People went nuts over it because they kept information strictly limited. It made heavy use on new media marketing, which will have kept costs down, and attracted the 'Myspace' generation (or Youtube generation, or whatever you want to call it). That demographic has money.

It's basically proof that a proper marketing strategy with a clear message and target demographic works. Web + monsters + young people = $$$ for the win.

'SNAKES ON A PLANE' is often cited as an example as to why web marketing doesn't work. That's just wrong. That didn't work because the movie was actually just shit, and the marketing was badly done.

This actually tried a lot of the things they looked at with Serenity, except they deliberately didn't centralise a community around it - they let it naturally form across over sites which increased outside chatter. Plus they put a lot more money into it (a few of the fake news viral marketing video clips they made had an oil rig sinking the background...) and kept the faith. (3500 prints opening weekend, which Serenity was originally pegged as, until Universal scaled it back).

[ edited by gossi on 2008-01-20 23:54 ]
In the new ish of Entertainment Weekly, J.J. basically comes out and says that he wishes his creative partners were getting more credit for the movie. At the same time, having Abrams' name front and center in the advertising surely helped drive opening-weekend grosses. My guess is Drew doesn't mind.
It was a lot of fun and not at all a "monster movie" per se. As is usual for Whedon alums, it centered around relationships and wasn't just action action action. Despite the shakiness (which is bad if you get motion sick at all) I'll definitely go see it again, 'specially since it's only an hour and a quarter -- I can fit that in before work. :)
While Drew Goddard of course deserves plenty of credit here (as he did for episodes of Buffy, Angel, Alias and Lost he wrote), from the sounds of it, unlike the producer credit on some films, Cloverfield was produced by J.J. Abrams in much the same position as he would be on a TV series he was the showrunner of - it was his story idea and he really guided it, bringing in people he'd worked with (Goddard and Reeves) who he knew were talented folks that would help him bring his vision to the screen. It's kind of like how we know Jeffrey Bell is a huge part of the awesomeness of the Angel finale, but it's hard not to give Joss primary credit (realizing he had a co-writing credit there, but still...) because there would be no Angel or Angel finale without him.
Cloverfield is interesting for so many reasons from a benchmark point of view. It was incredibly hyped because it wasn't shown in advance.

The same was done with the Blair Witch Project. Which is fitting, since it's exactly the same film.
Well, it's not the same film, as CLOVERFIELD doesn't make any attempt to make you believe it's real, it's not very grounded, and it's a big, fun movie with insane special effects. The only thing it has in common with BLAIR WITCH is that it's supposed to be video taped by the characters, but if you see both and you think they're the same, then you may have watched one of them twice by accident.

Also, BLAIR WITCH was shown in advance, at many film festivals, sci-fi conventions, and advanced previews.

I really dug CLOVERFIELD. My wife had to leave early because she got motion sickness from the handheld camera work, but I went back the next day and saw the rest. Really well done, really fun, really dark.

And they passed out vomit bags beforehand, which I think is a moviegoing first for me.
Congratulations Drew Goddard! This is great news. I am not a monster movie person, so I won't be seeing it, but I am very happy it is doing so well. Yea!
I enjoyed it, although I thought it was essentially an upscaled version of The Mist.
I saw it and I loved it. At first I was a little apprehensive about the camera ( it was a little annoying at some points when they were running) but then I realized that it really sucked you in. There was no refuge from the insanity that was going on around them, especially since there was no music, except that which the characters themselves provided. The shades of 9/11 especially hit home. Overall, it was a really great monster movie. It left me with an eerie feeling that something unsavory was just over the horizon when I got out of the theatre. In other words, feeling terrified.

[ edited by dulce_serenidad on 2008-01-21 20:37 ]
I didn't see the movie and have no idea what happens, but with a 41 mill opening on a 25 mill budget, think we might be seeing Cloverfield 2: The Return


Oh dear god! How I hate unplanned sequels! :facepalm:

[ edited by dulce_serenidad on 2008-01-21 20:39 ]
I can't wait to see it myself.I probably will during the week.
The same was done with the Blair Witch Project. Which is fitting, since it's exactly the same film.

Someone who says that could not have seen it. The fact that it was supposed to be a video someone shot which they found is the only connection (and even that was done much better in cloverfield).

I saw it twice this weekend.

To me it was nothing like anything I've seen before. I keep telling people that its more of a ride then a movie. I held tightly to my arm rests for a lot of the show. Definitely something that needs to be seen on the big screen.

[ edited by ssick on 2008-01-21 06:49 ]
The director Matt Reeves has said that if they do a sequel, it might be from the perspective of somebody else with a camera. Unless they have a totally different take on the story, I don't think they should go that route because it would be just more of the same.
As I said in the Ultimate Drew thread I went to the midnight show on Thursday and I loved the shite out of it. It was a fun movie that was exactly what it claimed to be. I don't understand how anyone who saw a trailer for the movie could be disappointed with the final product because it is so exactly what it tells you its going to be. There is of course in this day and age a lot of people who just have to hate it because it's hip to hate something because it's popular, and of course not everyone has the same taste so there will be people who genuinely don't care for the thing. But I think for the most if you can get past the motion of the camera (which does add to the story, for me) most who see it will get a kick out of it.
Plus you know there were people who went just to see if there would be a Star Trek teaser. Never underestimate what a trekkie will go through. Wait a minute I forgot I was talking to the Browncoats. Nevermind, let me go put on my Joss Whedon is my master Tshirt and enjoy my glass house. And yeah i wanted to see the Trek teaser too, I won't lie. Although the Doomsday trailer blew it away.
*pouts* We didn't get the Doomsday trailer. And I doubt we'll get much sequel info out of Reeves or Abrams since their silence worked so well for the first one. But maybe Drew will explain 'Cloverfield' in the sequel.
It's okay, ssick. crossoverman just really, really didn't like the film, and feels compelled to disagree with anyone who did. I'm not trying to make fun of him, by the way. I've done that myself on this site a few times in the past, on a variety of different subjects, and so I sympathize--we all tend to be so "Yes, YES" about anything that relates in any way to Joss Whedon (not surprising, when you consider the site's name) that when you don't...when something just strikes you the wrong way...you can feel like one lone voice crying in the wilderness.

While I think his complaint that Cloverfield is exactly like Blair Witch is a wee overstated (well, okay, considerably overstated), the fact remains that he's not the only one who found himself not entirely loving the film...although in my case, it was more a case of mild disappointment. theMidnighter, if you really want to know the answer to your question, you can check out my answer on the same Ultimate Drew thread. You can't miss it...it's invisotexted. And it's long enough that I'm not retyping the whole thing again.

As for a sequel...no. Just no. Some movies weren't made for sequels. A lot of those movies have sequels anyway, and while a few of then are even good, I would happily trade all the good ones (with maybe one or two exceptions) to wipe the bad ones out of existence. Cloverfield only has a couple real routes for a sequel. Basically, it's either "follow the monster on another rampage" or "center on a different group of people on the same night." Either way, it'll be hard to avoid that warmed-over, more-of-the-same feeling, and I would then have to echo crossoverman and start saying that Cloverfield 2 was just a shadow of another movie.
And they passed out vomit bags beforehand, which I think is a moviegoing first for me.

Oh, how I wish they had done that at the screening I went to. And by vomit bags, I mean Dramamine.
Apologies to regular viewers who may have read the following notice once too often, but . . . dulce_serenidad (great name, BTW), and ssick, could you try to follow site rules and capitalize fully? Thanks.

Oh, and here's a handy how-to page that informs you how to add HTML links, quotes, and SuperInvisoText to give your comment 25% extra sheen and lustre.

I'm looking forward to catching this (and at least a dozen other flicks currently at-large) at the earliest opportunity. Drew is, truly, Ultimate. Never did see the Blair Witch thingy (I was an early victim of the overhype) but, as I believe the BAFfler implied on another thread, if you've seen Cannibal Holocaust once, you may well have seen all the hand-held faux-verite documentaries you'll ever want to see. And that's praise, not criticism.
Sequel concepts:
1. We follow one of the news crews around.... it starts out with stuff from a few days earlier that foreshadows the monster.... then we see through the camera on the night it attacks,,, it would look a lot better because it would be more professional and the camera man would know what he's doing from experience. We'd learn a lot more about the creature and see more of it! :) But there still wouldn't be enough information given to ruin the mystique.
2. It would be a traditional film with multiple cameras that the actors aren't aware of. It would tell of the events leading up to the movie with government officials or scientists as the main characters.
3. A fake documentary about the events of the movie. With multiple little clips of other people who had their cellphones handy and interviews with people who survived. They could also poke fun at all the different theories that people had about the movie by having people claim it was a giant robot or it was a giant whale in the interviews. It would also be able to tie in all the viral websites really well.

I think the third idea could work really well, but thats just me... :)
And I'm not saying there needs to be a sequel... but if there was one... :)
...to me it was nothing like anything I've seen before. I keep telling people that its more of a ride then a movie. I held tightly to my arm rests for a lot of the show. Definitely something that needs to be seen on the big screen.

Agree with ya there, ssick!

And to top it off..the end credits and Michael Giachinno's dead-on Ikufube overture. Don't be too hasty to leave the theater.
Jesus, this movie was godawful. I don't have a single positive thing to say about it (well, the actress who played Lily was hot, but that's it). You disappoint me so much, Drew. How can you write such brilliant works of art such as Selfless (BtVS), Damage (Angel), and The Girl In Question and then turn out this utter piece of trash. Unbelievable.
I enjoyed it quite a good deal. I was amazed at how well they integrated the FX into the hand-held shots. I will say it was at times the shakiness and out of focus shots were a bit dizzying, but, really, it wouldn't have sold its premise without that. Never once did it really lose its conceit as "found" footage.

The Blair Witch Project, as I recall, (and I've not seen it since I first saw it at the theater) at the end, became unclear as to who was operating the camera, which might've been intentional, but, to me it was confusing, and it lessened the effect. I'm going to take another look at it, but, by the end, I was so confused as to what was happening, that while the general implications were scary and suspenseful, it wasn't as effective in the end, as Cloverfield. Also, I didn't care at all about the protagonists, and, I didn't feel all that sorry for them, as they'd mostly gotten themselves into their mess. They weren't very sympathetic to me. The characters of Cloverfield, they were in the middle of something they couldn't control, which happens to all of us, and is much more identifiable on a human level. When stuff like that happens, all we can do is try to survive, and hope/try for the survival of those we love.
I loved this movie.

It's definitely not one I could see often (motion-sickness issues and so forth), but I certainly will see it again.
How was it trash ? Your comment would be more worth the posting if you elaborated on why you hated it, then we'd have something to discuss.

Saw it tonight. Like some are saying, it's a ride of a movie. Lotta fun (if tension and a whole lotta speculating are your thing. More on that later).

I found the acting serviceable for the most part. A couple of the cast members were very good. I guess where believability faltered a bit for me (yes, I know it's about a giant something-or-other to begin with) was when so many of the friends decided to follow Rob to save Beth. Can't see that happening if that shit were going down in real life, but without it I guess there wouldn't have been as compelling a movie...just seeing them trying to escape the city, I guess, wouldn't have provided the same excitement, especially since it was presented that they could've easily gotten out when they ran into the army.

It frustrated that there were little to no answers about what was going on, but that'll just keep me having fun speculating and I'll probably visit the IMDB message boards after posting this (proceed with caution when it comes to those).

Amused me that the movie still didn't rule out any of the three major "what is it!" theories that were floating around before release--sure it might be an alien, sure it might be the result of a virus (that infected a whale, apparently!) or mutation, and sure it still might also be a monster from the depths. No conclusives, although Hudd leaned toward the ocean monster explanation.
SoddingNancyTribe, I can't believe someone else I have even a passing acquaintance with has seen Cannibal Holocaust. Bravo. But let me state, very clearly, to everyone here: If you haven't already seen that movie, you should think long and hard about seeing it. It is well-made, but it is also the most unpleasant experience you may ever have watching a film. Especially if you're squeamish about animal cruelty. Let me put it this way. You know those little disclaimers at the end of most movies with animal actors saying "No animals were harmed in the making of this film?" Well, Cannibal Holocaust would never have been able to get one of those tags. That's all I'm saying.

xerox, about your ideas...I don't mean to sound down on you, because I agree that those could all (in the right hands) be legitimate possibilities for sequels, but earlier, I said that it might leave me with a warmed-over feeling if the sequel just "center[ed] on a different group of people on the same night." Let's see what we have here:

1. "We follow one of the news crews around...." In other words, we center on a different group of people on the same night. The advantages of professional footage aside, it would be the same rampage.

2. "...would tell of the events leading up to the movie with government officials or scientists as the main characters." In other words, we center on a different group of people on the nights leading up to the night. And it would probably be pretty boring, because nobody ever knows Godzilla monsters are there until they start rampaging. That's Rule #2. Rule #1 is, Godzilla monsters are born to rampage.

3. "A fake documentary about the events of the movie. With multiple little clips of other people who had their cellphones handy and interviews with people who survived." In other words, we center on massive numbers of different people on the same night and the nights after. I might watch this one, but only if it was called . (I invisotexted the title because I don't want to take the chance of someone thinking there was a spoiler in there, although I'm pretty sure there isn't.)
Hi, I'm new.

I liked the movie. It didn't blow me away emotionally--I didn't think there was really any character development to speak of, but I don't think it really needed any, either. It was just very visceral; a great new way to pull off a monster movie.

And, not to spoil anything, but I thought that the movie did indicate the origin of the thing. I was the only one in my group of five who picked up on it, though, so I suppose I could have misinterpreted!
Kris, it was definitely something that either came from the sky or was the product of something that came from the sky. I'm not sure if you caught it, but at the very end when they show the last bit of video of Beth prior to the attack near the ocean, you see very briefly something fall out of the sky and drop into the ocean. Clearly, the monster was just in their growning/mutating/whatever until it was ready to eat New York.

FWIW, I really enjoyed this movie. Hell of a ride! For something that could have just been more ripping off of other movies, it still did it in a clever and fun way. I expect nothing less from a Whedon alum and the dude that created Alias.
Storyteller: it's both more respectful to the movie maker and more useful to members (as Kris said) to explain why you feel as strongly as you do. Otherwise, such comments are little more than flaming.

BAFfler: I worked at San Fran's largest indie vid store for 2+ years. Watched a lot of weird sh*t in that time. I absolutely concur in your caveats regarding CH. I don't think I would actually recommend it to anyone. But for those with a strong stomach, it is a very well-made film. (And not just lurid excess, as the title would suggest.)
Regarding a possible sequel, during the end credits (which I missed but someone posted about it on BC) you heard what sounded like a voice on a radio. At this site you can listen to it both forwards and backwards and that'll pretty much give you the odds on a sequel. ;-)
ShimShamSam and Hoppy...I am going to go see Cloverfield again. I am going to specifically look for that moment. If I see it, I will officially renounce my complaint re: the film's ending, and pay a great deal of credit to Drew Goddard, Matt Reeves, and J.J. Abrams for sneaking one over on me while I wasn't looking.
left me with an eerie feeling that something unsavory was just over the horizon when I got out of the theatre

Hah. I found myself, while waiting for the bus home, looking at buildings and thinking, "What would it look like it something really freaking huge came crawling over the top of that?"

It frustrated that there were little to no answers about what was going on

That's one of my top three favorite things about the movie.
Also, setting aside the sequel issue, what this is ripe for is a bunch of DVD extras. That's where they could put things like random snippets of cellphone footage the government also found. Or pieces of redacted government documents.

It would be interesting even to have people record an audio commentary track in the form of government officials discussing the case designate Cloverfield.
think we might be seeing Cloverfield 2: The Return

Doesn't even need to be a sequel. "Cloverfield 1.1: Another View" would be just as cool. So many possibilities...

In short, best monster movie in ages.
As it seems, this is a definetely like it or hate it movie.
Really want to see it, but won't open here for another two weeks.
It was a nice, fun "B" movie.

I thought I'd be one of those to be made sick by the movie, because i can never watch an Imax movie without getting sick - but I had no problem with it.

The Drew Goddard humor was there, but I really hope there isn't a sequel. I'd rather see him (or others) work on something else original.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2008-01-21 16:50 ]
Also, has anyone looked at 1-18-08.com? There are some new pictures on there of fishermen in the ocean looking at bloodied water and giant chunks of -something-.

Does this imply the monster did get blown all to heck, or is it just a bunch of remnants of the whales, etc., the monster destroyed on its way to NYC?

It's been driving me nuts.
ShimShamSam, thanks! Now I've got a good excuse for a second viewing!

I liked it a lot. Clever premise freshly done, AMAZING continuity. Very real feel.

And I'm looking to everyone who expresses horror over 9-11 references to demand that we go back and edit out all references to Nazi's, holocausts, racial purity, and Final Solutions, in every motion picture and TV show since WWII.
I really liked the film. It was by no means perfect, but when has a monster movie ever been perfect? I loved the first 20 minutes or so. I felt that it did an excellent job of establishing the characters and I thought they all felt very real throughout, as a result.

The last half of the movie is where all my quibbles come in. I think my least favorite thing was Marlena... exploding (?) after being bitten. I felt like that wasn't really necessary. The point of this movie was people, not expanding a mythology of something that we don't really know anything about. (Sidebar: I don't dig them showing something falling into the water at the end of the movie. I would prefer we know nothing about the monster whatsoever.)

Kudos to Drew, though. Between his words and the acting (which, I would think, was pretty difficult), I think they pulled off a uniquely cool movie.
Cabri, that's very cool; thanks!
I quite enjoyed the flick :) I particularly enjoyed not delving into where the monster came from or anything else that people trying to survive and save their friends wouldn't have time to worry/speculate about endlessly. Although, if you know where to look online there is a good enough bunch of info that ties together the company Rob was going to work for in Japan, the tanker accident in the harbor and some other things.
As much as I loved "Cloverfield," I am very leery (not Leary- he's awesome ;-) of sequels or 'at the same time' quels.
I had a rollicking good time...mass destruction on a grand scale told from the claustrophobic POV of a handheld digi-cam, all wrapped up in Drew-Goddard-dialogue goodness. Yeah, maybe there should have been more dead bodies strewn about (especially in the apartment building), but I bought it all, hook, line and sinker. I didn't give a hoot where the thing had come from, etc...just cared about the characters, which always makes the movie for me. Okay, and the death-dealing spider things helped a little.
I'm afraid I have to agree with Storyteller on this. While I enjoyed it and had fun I wouldn't say it was a good movie. Everything involving the monster was great but the characters and dialogue were pretty terrible in my opinion. The party scene was particularly cringeworthy, not to mention the rescue mission for Rob's ex. For a movie that had aspirations of documentary realism it ended up resorting to the same cliches and contrivances as most Hollywood action movies, which I was expecting less of given Drew Goddard wrote the script. It could have been amazing, but I don't think it delivered on its premise.
Here you go SoddingNancyTribe:

The characters were made of cardboard, the motivations and plot were idiotic and made no sense whatsoever the entire way through, the acting was beyond terrible, every single good scare was directly ripped off from Jurassic Park and its sequels, of course the camerawork (it may be intentional, but that doesn't make it commendable), the dialogue was cringeworthy, etc. etc. This movie was pure torture to sit through from beginning to end. Some of the longest 90 minutes of my life.

Like I said, the only positive thing was the actress who played Lily. So very, very pretty. :-)
Heheh... ripped off from Jurassic Park :) You realize none of the scares in Jurassic Park were original, right? Sorry you didn't enjoy the flick, but thems the breaks, and at least you had Lily ;)
I saw the same thing ShimShamSam and Hoppy. To me that scene explains all I need to know as to the origin of the monster. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it was quite the roller coaster ride.
I haven't seen the film yet but some critics I respect have loathed it - on the order of Storyteller's loathing. One example is the NY Times critic who loved Serenity, Manohla Dargis. She hated it and saw it as one note. In the opposite camp there's the EW critic, Lisa Something (early senility happening here), who liked it a lot and saw it as a layered, negative commentary on youth culture. Is Lisa Something right? Anyone else think Cloverfield was meant as more than a really fun monster movie?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-01-21 19:11 ]
Wow, Storyteller, someone who hated the film worse than I did! The whole cast was pretty, except for Hud - luckily he was behind the camera. Unfortunately, he never shut the hell up!

(Kudos to Goddard for calling him Hud, though - Hud? Heads up display! Heh. Great name for a camera man!)
I am a huge fan of monster movies and was big time disappointed in Cloverfield. I found it was so loathsome that I don't care what else it might have been meant to be. I never say that, as I usually love subtext. I agree with storyteller, only I liked it less then he did, as I didn't have Lily. SoddingNancyTribe I just added a url to my profile if you want a more detailed blog. Warning: I had just come home from the movie and was filled with loathing so itís a bit snarky. It might suffice to say that this seems to be a movie that people liked or really hated.
Towards the end of the movie when the scene reverts back to coney island, looking towards the ocean with a ship off to the right side of the screen, something is falling from right to left into the ocean. Did any one else see that or is it time for new glasses?
If so anything to do with the movie?
Apparently it's the creature landing on Earth. If so, kinda cool.
There is some debate about the falling. Some people are arguing there is no falling, only a splashing up and back down again. (It's ultimately relevant because in the promotional production notes, Abrams refers to the creature as having been under the ocean for a very long time. That is not consistent with it having fallen to earth from the skies only a few weeks earlier.)

I just added a url to my profile

I don't see it?

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-01-22 04:36 ]
The falling object is Background from the viral campaign (possible spoilers, obviously) here. I'm pretty sure Abrams has confirmed that's what splash is from, but I don't have a link to an exact quote.
Oh well... hummm I added it again. It might have been that "submit" button thingy.....:)
Like I said, the only positive thing was the actress who played Lily. So very, very pretty. :-)


Huh. Marlena was the one I couldn't take my eyes off of. Simply stunning.

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