10 Cloverfield Lane is the long-awaited sequel to 2008’s surprise hit, Cloverfield, and it officially opens in theaters today. However, the film isn’t literally a sequel, but it certainly takes place some years after the events of the first film.
AVOID SPOILERS for 10 Cloverfield Lane at all costs!! It is worth a pure viewing. It’s a triumph!!! Hot damn it’s awesome.— Jeff Cannata (@jeffcannata) March 10, 2016
The movie, much like every project J.J. Abrams is attached to, has been shrouded in mystery, much like the first film, and has been following similar tactics in promotion as Cloverfield used in 2008. Cloverfield saw a very impressive opening with $40 million in January of 2008. At that time, the sci-fi found-footage film set a January opening weekend record.
With successful films like Deadpool and Zootopia currently out, it is not likely that 10 Cloverfield Lane will open with the same numbers. However, it should do better than what the studio is expecting, and projections for the film’s opening are in the high-teens.
10 Cloverfield Lane wasn’t always called 10 Cloverfield Lane, its previous title was Valencia, and then The Cellar before that. The film was produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and it stars John Goodman as Howard, a man who has trapped Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, inside an underground cellar. She finds another person, Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr., who is also in the cellar. This is the only information that is given away in the trailer.
John Goodman recently appeared on Howard Stern’s show, and Stern seemed to be really taken with the movie, but he was careful not to give any major details away. Stern asked Goodman how he originally got involved with the project, and apparently the title Cloverfield didn’t mean anything to him.
“Cloverfield was bupkis,” Goodman said. He explained that he had no idea what Cloverfield was and had never heard of it prior to signing on to this film.
“I wasn’t too worried about the negotiations because the script was so good,” Goodman revealed to Howard Stern. “Plus, they shot it in New Orleans. We shot it in a little warehouse there.”
Howard later asked whether or not Goodman was receiving any back-end money based on the box office success of the film. “Un poquito,” Goodman replied. “I get my beak wet.”
Damien Chazelle, writer and director of Whiplash, was developing the project for Bad Robot long before it got into the hands of Dan Trachtenberg. It would have been Chazelle’s feature debut, but he walked away from the project when an opportunity arose for him to make Whiplash.
“Damien was brought in to develop it even further and make it into something that, now we can look back and say, make it into something that fits into the Clover-verse, Trachtenberg revealed to /Film.
“It didn’t have that title, but when JJ came up with the title 10 Cloverfield Lane, I thought it was genius because that name sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, and this movie is like one giant Twilight Zone episode.”
10 Cloverfield Lane producer J.J. Abrams was asked about the Twilight Zone comparison. “It’s an easy way to understand it at the moment, that it’s just a cool anthology,” Abrams said. The filmmaker isn’t trying to jump the gun in terms of what this franchise could possibly turn into in the future. He does admit that there have been ideas thrown around as to what they could do with future stories and future films under the Cloverfield banner, but for now, the “anthology” category seems to be a nice fit.
One of the film’s stars, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 2011’s The Thing), says that working with John Goodman was pretty incredible. She said during her coverage that Goodman would intensify his performance, and that would help pull a better performance out of Winstead. Sigourney Weaver in Alien was a touchstone performance that Winstead drew inspiration from, with Ripley being a strong woman in a sci-fi/horror narrative.
10 Cloverfield Lane opens in theaters today.
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]