‘Cloverfield’ Clobbers Competition, Sets January Box-Office Record

'27 Dresses' waltzes in at #2; Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah fail to run away with 'Mad Money.'

The Box-Office Top Five
#1 “Cloverfield” ($46 million)
#2 “27 Dresses” ($27.3 million)
#3 “The Bucket List” ($16.1 million)
#4 “Juno” ($12 million)
#5 “First Sunday” ($9.4 million)

For months before its release, producer J.J. Abrams kept the plot details of “Cloverfield” shrouded in mystery, even as prying Internet eyes looked for any way to crack the veil. But four days after its release, the monster’s out of the bag: “Cloverfield” isn’t just a rollicking good time, it’s the biggest thing January’s ever seen, literally. With $41 million over the three-day weekend ($46 million including Martin Luther King Day), “Cloverfield” scored the biggest ever January opening, beating “Black Hawk Down,” “Star Wars” and the entire island of Manhattan.

Katherine Heigl is no Lady Liberty, meanwhile, but at least she kept her head amid all the mayhem and destruction, as viewers everywhere held a torch for her “27 Dresses.” (Give us you tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for feminine counterprogramming?) Also starring James Marsden and Ed Burns, the romantic comedy about a woman who finally gets her shot at love after helping all her friends earned $27.3 million over the four-day weekend, good enough for a second-place finish and the 10th-highest January opening of all time.

Last week, Jack Nicholson crossed “Have a #1 movie” off his bucket list. This week, the coming-of-old-age story fell to third place with $16.1 million over the four days. In fourth place, “Juno” continued its run as the little indie that could, scoring $12 million at the box office and then an impressive number of Oscar nods . With an overall total of $87 million, the pregnancy dramedy is all but certain to pass the magical $100 million mark sometime this week. In fifth place, Ice Cube’s “First Sunday” made $9.4 million over the four-day weekend. The Frozen One’s latest has now earned $30 million.

Among other new releases, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah’s “Mad Money” tanked, earning just $9.2 million over the four days, good enough for only a seventh-place finish. Maybe Katie should have stayed with Batman? Also new to theaters, “Teeth,” the story of a, umm, carnivorous vagina, earned $37,000 in only four theaters. Its per-theater average was the highest of any movie this weekend not named “Cloverfield.”

Upcoming Releases

Last year, Sylvester Stallone earned critical raves and box-office gold by bringing back “Rocky.” Now he’s out for blood (that’s a “First Blood” pun; we’ll be here all week, folks, and don’t forget to tip your waitress), when “Rambo” opens in 2,800 theaters. Diane Lane, meanwhile, tries to find an Internet killer in “Untraceable,” and those wacky spoof boys are back with “Meet the Spartans.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Cloverfield,” “27 Dresses”, “Juno” and “Rambo.”

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