21 Jan – “Cloverfield” may be the first monster hit of 2008, marking a record opening for January at US$41 million (RM130 million) but many cinemas in the US saw patrons walking out midway through the movie.
This is due to motion sickness caused by the shaky scenes of the movie which is shot from the perspective of a partygoer's hand-held videocam, capturing the mayhem as a monster tears through New York City.
Joceline Lim, 26, a retail manager from Oklahoma City, told this blogger by phone that she walked out of the screening hall about 20 minutes into the movie because the shaky camerawork of the movie made her seasick. “I tried closing my eyes and listen to the dialogue but that did not work. I had to walk out, leaving my boyfriend to continue watching the movie,” she said. “I managed to get my money back from the box-office after explaining my problem. The counter guy told me that many patrons walked out of the movie since it opened last Thursday.
Many cinemas in the US posted warning notices that “Cloverfield” may cause motion sickness to some patrons. Despite this, some cinemas allowed patrons toclaim a ‘rain check’ (a voucher for another show) while others allowed a refund if reasons given were valid.
Typically, January is the slowest month for the movie industry. However, creature-feature “Cloverfield” managed to surpass the US$35.9 million premiere weekend of “Star Wars: Special Edition” in 1997, the previous record taker for January. It reminds us of the sleeper hit "Blair Witch Project" (1999) which was also shot with a hand-held cam.