Box Office Report: 'Super 8' Earns $1 Mil in Thursday Sneak Previews

Super 8 - Movie Still: Elle Fanning plays Alice Dainard and Joel Courtney plays Joe Lamb  - 2011
François Duhamel/Paramount Pictures

Twitter hosted the paid previews of J.J. Abrams' sci-fi pic, which earned another $500,000 in midnight runs.

Paramount's Super 8 -- directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg -- earned $1 million in sneak previews on Thursday at 324 theaters across the country.

The studio partnered with Twitter to host the paid previews in a first for the giant social media site.
Paramount said 100,000 people participated in the Twitter promotion, and that it met its goal of creating a vocal group of proponents who will plug the sci-fi film.

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"It was a great result, especially since there was no consumer marketing," Paramount vice chair Rob Moore said.

Additionally, Super 8 earned $500,000 in midnight runs at 1,200 locations. Today, the film moves into a total of 3,379 theaters.

Numbers from early matinees indicate the film is on track to gross in the high $20 million range, if not $30 million.

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Overall awareness has been softer than it should be for a film directed by Abrams and produced by Spielberg, and that's part of the reason why Paramount hosted the sneaks.

Super 8 is drawing strong reviews, with critics crediting Abrams for going outside of Hollywood's comfort zone and making a film he calls an homage to the movies he grew up with as a kid, many of them from Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment.

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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. The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ryan Lee, Riley Griffiths, Gabriel Basso and Zach Mills.

Paramount maintains Super 8 doesn't need a big opening, since it cost $50 million to produce, far less than other summer studio films. The studio has been predicting an opening in the $25 million to $30 million range.