Weekend Box Office Report: J.J. Abrams’ ‘Super 8′ Defies Odds To Earn $37 Million
It’s a great start for a movie that has no big stars and is not about a super hero. Because the film is getting generally good response from viewers and critics, this will probably end up one of the summer big money makers over the long haul.
J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 opened to a better-than-expected $37 million at the domestic box office after an aggressive 11th hour marketing blitz by Paramount. Including paid previews on Thursday, the period sci-fi pic has earned $38 million in its first four days.
Overseas, Super 8 began rolling out in a handful of markets, grossing $6.7 million for a worldwide launch of $44.7 million. The biggest territory was Australia, where the movie earned $2.7 million.
Super 8—produced by Steven Spielberg—had been the focus of intense speculation because of soft tracking and a marketing campaign that left the film’s plot shrouded in mystery. Tracking showed the Super 8 opening to $25 million to $30 million domestically, despite the pedigree of Abrams and Spielberg.
Paramount’s efforts to whip up buzz on the eve of the film’s release seem to have paid off. On Thursday, the studio partnered with Twitter to host paid previews across the country, preceded by free sneaks Wednesday in 11 cities.
Ultimately, Super 8’s performed on par with sleeper-hit District 9, which opened to $37.3 million at the domestic box office in August 2009.
“I think we accomplished what we set out to do. It was never positioned as a big blockbuster, but as a smaller movie,” Paramount vice chair Rob Moore said. “We used the sneaks to infuse the marketplace with great word-of-mouth, and it certainly looks like it paid off.”
Paramount maintains Super 8 didn’t need a big opening, since it cost $50 million to produce, far less than other summer studio films.
Super 8 drew a B+ CinemaScore, while 71% of the audience was over the age of 25. That wasn’t a surprise to Paramount, since the movie is Abrams’ homage to the Steven Spielberg films he grew up. Males made up 56% of the audience.
The movie played in 3,379 theaters, including 239 Imax locations. Imax grosses clocked in at $4.4 million, a strong start and representing 12% of total earnings.
Set in 1979, Super 8 tells the story of a group of kids who are filming a home movie when there’s a violent train crash. When unexplained events start to threaten their town, they begin to suspect something inhuman escaped from the train.