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"Cloverfield" tops box office despite cases of walkouts

Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

"No, don't faint! It's just a movie!" – A scene from "Cloverfield"

21 Jan – Monster movie and disaster film "Cloverfield" takes top spot in USA and local box office charts, even going so far as to chalk up the highest January weekend gross ever in America – but walkouts have been reported at cinemas due to the dizzying effect of the movie.

Visiting Cinema Online reviewer Lim Chang Moh reports from Indiana, USA that many cases of patrons leaving cinemas have been reported since the much anticipated movie premiered on 18 January 2008. Joyce Lyme, 26, a shop manager from Oklahoma City, told Cinema Online 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 listening 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."

"Cloverfield" anticipation last week

Many cinemas in the US posted warning notices that "Cloverfield" may cause motion sickness to some patrons. Despite this, some cinemas allowed patrons to claim a 'rain check' (a voucher for another show) while others allowed a refund if reasons given were valid.

On the home front, cinema staff of GSC 1 Utama have reported at least two patrons actually throwing up during a screening of "Cloverfield". Many cinemagoers on Cinema Online's forum also complained that the film made them physically sick and eyewitnesses report that many patrons left the cinema midway, unable to continue. It is unknown just how prevalent exactly is the phenomenon but the cost of maintenance for cinemas is understood to increase with such bizarre reactions to the film.

Queasiness from watching films is not unknown to cinemas. Alejandro Inarritu's acclaimed 2007 drama "Babel" came with health warnings in Japanese cinemas, where patrons complained of overwhelming sickness and dizziness. A disco scene with disturbing lighting effects was found to be too hard to stomach for many.

"Cloverfield" is now showing in cinemas nationwide

Related articles:
"Cloverfield" forum
"Cloverfield" review


Cinema Online, 21 January 2008

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