Box office report: 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' rolls past 'Rush', 'Don Jon' with $35 million debut

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Image Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

Four years after the original Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs stormed theaters, Sony’s $78 million sequel Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 topped the chart once again, earning $35 million in its first weekend. The film opened in an ultra-wide 4,001 theaters, and it notched a strong $8,748 location average.

The first Cloudy scored $30.3 million in its debut frame on the way to a $124.9 million finish. Most prognosticators were expecting Cloudy 2 to finish above the $40 million mark — in the same range as Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, which opened last September with $42.5 million, the best September debut in history. Cloudy 2 finished a bit below that, but it still notched the fourth best September bow of all time behind Transylvania, Insidious Chapter 2 ($40.3 million), and Sweet Home Alabama ($35.6 million).

The film benefited from a lack of animated competition in the marketplace. Planes, the last animated title to hit theaters, debuted nearly two months ago, and moving ahead, Cloudy should endure quite well due to a dearth of family films in October. The next kiddie flick entering theaters is the Thanksgiving-themed Free Birds on Nov. 1. Thus, Cloudy, with its “A-” CinemaScore grade, should have no trouble playing to parents and children for weeks to come.

Last weekend’s champion, Prisoners, locked up another $11.3 million in its second frame, with a 46 percent drop from its $20.8 million debut last weekend. Warner Bros.’ $46 million revenge thriller, which stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, has now earned $39 million. Despite great reviews, though, the drama is facing serious competition from other well-reviewed adult fare such as Rush and Don Jon (and next weekend’s Gravity), which could limit its final box office potential.

That said, Ron Howard’s Formula One racing drama Rush raced off with a rather lackluster $10.3 million in its expansion from five theaters into 2,297 locations. The Universal-distributed film, which stars Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, marks a major decrease from Howard’s last sports drama, Cinderella Man, which punched up $18.3 million in its 2005 debut. For Hemsworth, Rush (obviously) started off slower than both Thor and The Avengers, but it also under-performed compared to his non-superhero vehicles The Cabin in the Woods ($14.7 million) and Red Dawn ($14.3 million). The film will need great word of mouth to drive it to profitability, and given its strong “A-” CinemaScore, it may achieve that. Also working in Rush‘s favor? Its relatively low $38 million budget.

Two newcomers rounded out the Top 5, though both finished the weekend with rather lackluster totals. The Paula Patton-starring romantic comedy Baggage Claim flew away with $9.3 million from 2,027 theaters, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s porn-addiction comedy Don Jon pulled in a more tepid $9 million from 2,422 theaters. Baggage Claim‘s  “A-” CinemaScore grade suggests it could find an audience in the weeks to come, though Don Jon’s weak “C+” grade may signify challenging word of mouth (despite strong reviews) down the road. Fortunately, Don Jon cost only $6 million to produce, so it should turn  a nice profit for Relativity. Fox Searchlight did not disclose the budget for Baggage Claim.

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $35 million
2. Prisoners – $11.3 million
3. Rush – $10.3 million
4. Baggage Claim – $9.3 million
5. Don Jon – $9 million

Further down the chart, Eugenio Derbez’s Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included scored another $3.4 million from 948 theaters, for a remarkable $38.6 million cumulative total. The film surpassed Pan’s Labyrinth ($37.6 million) this weekend to become the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in U.S. box office history. It’s a major winner for young distributor Pantelion, a joint venture of Lionsgate and Mexican media company Televisa.

This weekend, Sandra Bullock’s ultra buzzy sci-fi thriller Gravity floats into theaters — as does the rather unbuzzy Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck thriller Runner Runner. Check back to EW to see how both films fare at the box office.

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