21 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Paramount's modestly budgeted and stealthily marketed monster film Cloverfield opened monstrously indeed, with an estimated $41 million over its first three days, blowing away the weekend record for the long Martin Luther King holiday frame.

Similarly cashing in on what's become a key winter boxoffice session for the industry, Fox's wedding-themed romantic comedy 27 Dresses put $22.4 million into its gift purse, bowing in second place.

The 2001 military action film Black Hawk Down had marked the previous best MLK weekend. It posted a three-day gross of $28.6 million, which it stretched to $33 million through that year's Monday holiday.

Paramount executives expect Cloverfield to fall just short of $50 million through Monday.

Also during the weekend, Overture debuted the first of its slate of modestly budgeted films, bowing the female-ensemble comedy Mad Money about as expected with $7.7 million in seventh place.

Elsewhere, Warner Bros.' Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman starrer The Bucket List dropped a tiny 22% from the previous weekend -- its first in wide release -- to gross $15.2 million in third place, shaping a $42.7 million cume.

Fox Searchlight's platforming comedy Juno added 86 engagements for a total of 2,534 and grossed $10.3 million in fourth place, good for an $85.4 million cume.

Sony/Screen Gems' Ice Cube starrer First Sunday dropped 56% in its second session to gross $7.8 million in sixth place, toting a $28.5 million cume. Universal's animated The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie tumbled from the top 10 despite a modest 35% decline from the previous weekend to $2.8 million, with a $7.7 million cume.

In a limited bow, the Weinstein Co. unspooled Woody Allen's latest drama, Cassandra's Dream, in 107 theaters. Starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor, the film grossed $400,000, or an acceptable $3,740 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus' Keira Knightley-James McAvoy starrer Atonement added 341 theaters for a total of 1,291 and grossed $4.8 million to finish 10th overall. With a sturdy $3,687 per venue, the latest grosses brought the cume for the Working Title-produced period drama to $31.9 million.


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