BOX OFFICE: ‘Cloudy Meatballs’ Roll Over ‘Rush’ & ‘Don Jon’

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Oh my god, is this long-standing drought finally over? Are we past the long weeks of disposable offerings and finally into the prestige territory the brings us flawed Oscar fodder and genuine mainstream miracles alike? Well, not quite. Prisoners and Rush have been solid preparations for the season, but they haven’t been quite as monumental hits as their parent studios might have dreamed of. No matter, for it’ll still keep the surface rippling long enough till films like Gravity, Captain Phillips (our first NYFF Review here) and 12 Years a Slave make bigger splashes. And just think! After this week we may no longer be reminded of how well Instructions Not Included has been doing! Sweet relief!

Weekend Winners

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Attracts Hungry Viewers

And the animated sleeper hit of October takes off. Sony Animation has had a successful run of animated releases these past few years, Hotel Transylvania and the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs scoring them $100+ million hits, and a similar trajectory is likely for this sequel. While not opening to quite as ecstatic a per theater average as the original, a film which surprised many a critic with its colourful wit and charm, it did merit a total weekend gross of $35 million, $5 million ahead of that predecessor. With no other kid-oriented offerings in sight until Free Birds hits in a month, expect a fruitful few weeks for this poppy (seed) adventure.

Don JonDon Jon & Baggage Claim Hold Rewards of Indie Mainstream Offerings

What a nice weekend it is for Fox Searchlight, which has two indie comedies making it big with audiences. Check out the indie release stats below for more in Enough Said, but Baggage Claim predictably made a deep slice into the mainstream market. A superficially charming rom-com with likeable black protagonists? What’s not to like? Apparently sex addiction, as Don Jon didn’t take in quite the major rewards Relativity was expecting upon picking it up at Sundance. Both Baggage Claim and Don Jon made around the same $9 million range, which could be seen as a failure for either to do better, but both were made on small enough budgets not to be phased by the small debuts. The ill for Don Jon is that audiences aren’t responding quite so well to it, giving it a C+ on CinemaScore while all other wide releases got A-‘s. If it takes a deeper dip than the others, you’ll know why.

Weekend Losers

RushRush Still in 1st Gear

So it turns out it might have been better for Universal to have Rush‘s rims coming full force out the gate in wide release, rather than putting it through a short limited opening last week. It didn’t generate quite as much propulsive interest as they expected, so it might’ve prospered from full, heavy-weight drop. The buzz from Toronto was still there to ignite it. The limited rollout was frankly pre-game overkill, now opening wide to just $10.3 million. Admittedly Ron Howard’s dramatic offerings haven’t often played like gangbusters, Cinderella Man opening at $18.3 million. You’d still expect a full-throttle racing drama like Rush – which stars THOR by the way – to do considerably better than it did. I’d consider its Oscar challenges outside the technical races effectively nixed.

Box Office Top 10 – September 28, 2013

Results via BoxOffice.com

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (1st Weekend: $35 million)
2. Prisoners (2nd Weekend: $11.3 million; Total: $39 million)
3. Rush (2nd Weekend: $10.3 million; Total: $10.6 million)
4. Baggage Claim (1st Weekend: $9.3 million)
5. Don Jon (1st Weekend: $9 million)
6. Insidious: Chapter 2 (3rd Weekend: $6.7 million; $69.5 million)
7. The Family (3rd Weekend: $3.7 million; Total: $31.7 million)
8. Instructions Not Included (5th Weekend: $3.4 million; Total: $38.6 million)
9. We’re the Millers (8th Weekend: $2.9 million; Total: $142.4 million)
10. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (7th Weekend: $2.4 million; Total: $110.3 million)

Limited Release Top 10

Metallica Through the NeverTwo new films hit the charts this week, one highly publicized and the other on the somewhat innocuous indie scene, but barely missing the chart was Haute Cuisine which, as the cute title denotes, would’ve kept the theme of lighter, fluffy films holding dominance over the indie Top 10. Shattering that theme is Metallica Through the Never, the 3D concert film formed under the unique narrative device of Dane Dehaan… I don’t know. Leading some sort of rebellion? It’s a cheap device, but it seems to be working, doesn’t it. The IMAX event publicity sure has helped. Outside IMAX or 3D, James Gandolfini comedy Enough Said has still managed to exceed it, working off a combination of positive buzz and good will to a fallen actor. The weekend’s most unexpected hit, however, was Inequality for All, a documentary about economic troubles, but headed up by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. How did it do so well? Well, Radius-TWC (Weinstein) distributed it, so it has that publicity going for it.

1. Enough Said (2nd Weekend: $2.1 million; Total: $2.5 million)
2. Metallica Through the Never (1st Weekend: $1.7 million)
3. Thanks for Sharing (2nd Weekend; $162,500; Total: $0.9 million)
4. Inequality For All (1st Weekend: $140,000)
5. In a World… (8th Weekend: $122,600; Total: $2.6 million)
6. Austenland (7th Weekend: $117,775; Total: $1.8 million)
7. Wadjda (3rd Weekend: $78,670; Total: $0.3 million)
8. Salinger (4th Weekend: $60,000; Total: $0.5 million)
9. Short Term 12 (6th Weekend: $59,000; Total:  $0.8 million)
10. The Spectacular Now (9th Weekend: $34,366; Total: $6.6 million)

What did you see in theaters this weekend? Let us know!

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