For those who follow the movie box office like many watch the finals, Super 8 did make it to #1 this weekend, generating $37 million on 5,500 screens, including $1 million raked in on Thursday night.
Deadline Hollywood Daily called it "big," and also wrote "It's encouraging to see an original summer movie overperforming at the North American box office..."
In contrast, Box Office Mojo reported the film "arrived with neither a whimper nor a bang," and that "a Spielberg-produced movie aiming to emulate his blockbusters of yore has high expectations attached to it, especially with the super-hyped Abrams at the helm.
"Super 8's marketing was conducted as if the movie were an intended blockbuster...$37 million is not a blockbuster opening for this type of movie in this day and age."
Meanwhile, Variety reported this weekend's take "beat industry expectations, which had the film pegged at opening significantly lower – a projected $30 million at most."
Other headlines claimed the film "defies odds," and did "better than expected." The film did best on Saturday, and as Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told reporter Andrew Stewart, "Word of mouth doesn't take weeks to spread anymore. It takes hours."
The spin on Super 8 has also compared its success to District 9, which grossed about the same amount of money in an August 2009 release.
Box Office Mojo also speculated the mysterious ad campaign worked against the film: "People were led on too long and there was too little revealed in the final stretch. Intrigue is fine early on, but cards need to be on the table at crunchtime."