Sony’s ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’ Is No. 1 Movie

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” the animated sequel from Sony Corp., took first place at the U.S. and Canadian box office in its debut, collecting $35 million in sales.

“Rush,” Ron Howard’s Formula 1 racing movie, rose to third with $10.3 million in its second week, expanding broadly after a limited debut, Box-Office said yesterday in a statement. “Prisoners,” starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, was second with $11.3 million.

“Cloudy 2,” the follow-up to Sony’s 2009 hit, marks the fourth No. 1 debut this year for the studio, which has seen its U.S. ticket sales slide 32 percent, leaving it ranked fifth, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Sony Pictures removed its head of marketing last week following criticism of the performance of its entertainment division.

The latest “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” was made for $78 million, less than the original’s $100 million cost, according to Box Office Mojo. It was projected to collect $45 million by in its debut.

“It’s still a fairly solid opening,” Paul Sweeney, a media analyst at Bloomberg Industries, said in a telephone interview. “It’ll probably play well for the next several weeks until more kids’ films and animation films are released for the holidays.”

The first “Cloudy” garnered $243 million total at the global box office.

Disastrous Storm

The PG-rated films’ central character is an inventor named Flint Lockwood, who in the first movie concocts a machine that turns rain into food, culminating in a disastrous storm. In the latest version, Lockwood is forced to leave his job when he finds that the machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. The movie, featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Will Forte, was well received in reviews for the quality of its animation and its visual humor.

“At times it felt as if this film might challenge Pixar’s decade-long reign, but that promise wanes,” wrote Miriam Bale in the New York Times. “Instead, the movie is sometimes so strange, colorful and wildly cute that it may end up becoming a ‘Yellow Submarine’ for a new generation.”

Sony earlier scored three No. 1 debuts this year, with the horror reboot “Evil Dead,” Matt Damon’s science-fiction film “Elysium,” and “One Direction: This Is Us.”

Racing Rivalry

Ron Howard’s “Rush” returned in wide release after its debut in a handful of cinemas.

Starring Chris Hemsworth, it recounts the 1970s Formula 1 racing rivalry between the late James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Director Howard, who won the Oscar for 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” conveys the intensity of the racing and the contrasting personalities of the British playboy Hunt and the studious Austrian Lauda.

“Prisoners,” the suspense thriller from Warner Bros. which finished second, has been buoyed by reviews praising the force of the performances of its lead actors. It features Jackman as a father who reacts to his daughter’s kidnapping by turning vigilante after police, lacking evidence, let the chief suspect go. Gyllenhaal plays the detective keeping tabs on Jackman while investigating the case.

The movie’s receipts total $39 million in two weeks of release.

‘Don Jon’

“Baggage Claim,” from Fox Searchlight also made its debut in fourth place, collecting $9.3 million, against a projected $8 million. The romantic comedy features Paula Patton as a woman who vows to get married by embarking on a 30-day, 30,000-mile expedition to charm a potential suitor into becoming her fiance.

“Don Jon,” a dramatic comedy from Relativity Media LLC, was fifth with $9 million in its opening weekend. Directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the movie follows Jon Martello, who arranges his life around family, church, gym and sex and hooked on pornography, making him unable to deal with the women he seduces.

The film, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, was praised for Gordon-Levitt’s direction. It was projected to collect $11.5 million by

“Johansson is wonderfully awful and Gordon-Levitt is electric,” wrote Bloomberg News critic Craig Seligman.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 8.1 percent to $98.1 million from the year-earlier period, said. Attendance year-to-date is down 2 percent, while revenue is up 1 percent to $8.15 billion.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Box-Office. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for Sept. 27 and Sept. 28 and estimates for yesterday.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 CLOUDY 2           $35.0    4,001   $8,748    --   $35.0    1
 2 PRISONERS           11.3    3,290    3,426   -46    39.0    2
 3 RUSH                10.3    2,297    4,490  5407    10.6    2
 4 BAGGAGE CLAIM        9.3    2,027    4,588    --     9.3    1
 5 DON JON              9.0    2,422    3,716    --     9.0    1
 6 INSIDIOUS: CHPT 2    6.7    3,120    2,163   -51    69.5    3
 7 THE FAMILY           3.7    2,894    1,270   -48    31.7    3
 8 INSTRUCTIONS NOT INC.3.4      948    3,565   -37    38.6    5
 9 WE’RE THE MILLERS    2.9    2,405    1,191   -37   142.4    8
10 THE BUTLER           2.4    2,062    1,172   -42   110.3    7
11 ENOUGH SAID          2.1      227    9,317   809     2.5    2
12 BATTLE OF YR (3-D)   2.0    2,008      996   -57     7.5    2

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $98.1 $106.7 -8.1

Year-to-date Revenue

2013 2012 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,154 $8,048 +1 Year-to-date Attendance: -2% Source:
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