Weekend Report: 'Cloudy' Consumes $34 Million
Family audiences ate up Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 this weekend, though the movie still fell short of the September opening record. Meanwhile, Prisoners held off newcomers Rush, Baggage Claim and Don Jon, none of which were particularly impressive.

The Top 12 earned $95.7 million this weekend, which is off 10 percent from the same frame last year. This is a fine finish to a decent September—it won't be a record-setter, though it will still be slightly up from last year.

Playing at 4,002 theaters—a new record for September—Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opened to just over $34 million. That's an improvement over the first Cloudy movie, which debuted to $30.3 million in September 2009. However, it's noticeably lower than Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania, which set a September opening record with $42.5 million on the same weekend last year. Overall, Cloudy's opening is the fourth-highest ever in September behind Hotel Transylvania, Insidious Chapter 2 and Sweet Home Alabama.

Cloudy 2 had a lot of things going for it, including goodwill from the first movie and essentially zero competition. Sony also did a great job marketing it—the vibrant visuals and broad humor were reminiscent of the first movie, while the Foodimals helped differentiate the sequel. Unfortunately, all of this only added up to a slight increase on the original, and it has to be ever-so-slightly disappointing that it missed Hotel Transylvania numbers.

Still, through the month of October Cloudy 2 will be the only choice for family audiences (who made up 80 percent of the movie's attendance). With fine word-of-mouth ("A-" CinemaScore), it's likely that Cloudy 2 winds up earning over $120 million by the end of its run.

After opening in first place last weekend, Prisoners fell 48 percent to $10.9 million. That's a fairly steep drop for a well-reviewed adult drama: in comparison, The Town and Contagion only dipped 35 percent around the same time in 2010 and 2011. Through 10 days, Prisoners has earned $38.5 million.

Rush expanded in to 2,297 theaters this weekend and took third place with $10.01 million. Among sports dramas, that's half of Moneyball's $20 million start, and is also lower than Secretariat's $12.7 million debut. It's hard to call this a good opening, though it also would have been unreasonable to expect much more—while the marketing has been strong, Formula 1 racing isn't of particular interest to most Americans.

The audience for Rush was 52 percent male and 53 percent over the age of 40, and it received a good "A-" CinemaScore. Add in strong reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and it's likely that this holds well over the next few weeks. Still, it faces tough competition from Gravity and Captain Phillips, and it would be surprising if it closed north of $40 million.

Playing at 2,027 theaters, romantic comedy Baggage Claim opened in fourth place this weekend with $9.03 million. That's way lower than 2011's Jumping the Broom ($15.2 million), which also starred Paula Patton. Still, it's higher than recent Fox Searchlight nationwide releases Just Wright ($8.3 million) and Our Family Wedding ($7.6 million). This isn't an impressive start, though it's not a bad one either: the movie had a very targeted (inexpensive) marketing campaign, and it's hard to imagine the movie opening above $10 million.

Making his writing/directorial debut, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon wound up in fifth place with $8.7 million this weekend. Among recent directorial debuts for actors, this is ahead Gone Baby Gone (Affleck, $5.5 million) and Whip It (Barrymore, $4.6 million), though it's nowhere near Seth Rogen's This is the End (a significantly more commercial movie, of course). Don Jon's opening is also about on par with Gordon-Levitt's 50/50, which took in $8.6 million on the same weekend in 2011.

50/50 went on to have great holds, and ended its run with $35 million. That's a bit above previous Gordon-Levitt success (500) Days of Summer. With a nationwide release (and the marketing campaign that accompanies that), it's likely that the hope was for Don Jon to wind up in a similar range. Unfortunately, the movie received a "C+" CinemaScore, which suggests lukewarm word-of-mouth. It's hard to imagine this holding as well as 50/50, and a final tally right around $30 million is likely.

Don Jon's audience was split evenly between men and women, suggesting this was a good date night option. It also skewed older—66 percent over the age of 25—which is likely a result of the very adult content.

Instructions Not Included added $3.47 million this weekend for a total of $38.7 million. This makes it the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie ever in the U.S. ahead of Pan's Labyrinth ($37.6 million). It also now ranks fourth all-time for a foreign language movie.

After playing in just four theaters for the past week, Enough Said expanded to 227 locations and earned $2.1 million. That's a very good figure for the Nicole Holofcener comedy, which is now on pace to easily outgross her last movie, Please Give ($4.03 million).

3D concert/narrative hybrid Metallica Through the Never opened in 305 IMAX locations this weekend and earned an estimated $1.67 million. Among IMAX-only releases, that's identical to last year's re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Considering how few movies have attempted this sort of release, it's hard to tell what Metallica's long-term prospects are; next weekend, it expands to around 650 theaters, though it's going to lose nearly all of its IMAX showtimes to Gravity.

Around-the-World Roundup

It was a very quiet weekend at the overseas box office, with only one Hollywood production earning over $10 million. That movie was Runner Runner, which opened to $11.2 million from 38 foreign markets a week ahead of its U.S. debut.

The Justin Timberlake-Ben Affleck gambling thriller took first place in Russia with $3 million. It earned $1.2 million in France and the U.K., which was less impressive. Finally, it opened below $1 million in Australia and South Korea.

Despicable Me 2 passed $500 million overseas this weekend. It's the eighth animated movie ever to pass that milestone, and its worldwide total of $864 million ranks seventh all-time among animated fare. It still has Italy and a few smaller markets on the way in the next two weeks, and should wind up with over $880 million before the end of its run.

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'Cloudy with a Chance of' a $40 Million Opening Weekend

This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2012 - 'Hotel Transylvania' Scares Up New September Record

• 2011 - 'Dolphin Tale' Leaps Into Lead

• 2010 - 'Wall Street' Sequel Yields Solid Returns

• 2009 - Blue Skies for 'Cloudy,' Hazy Starts for 'Surrogates,' 'Fame'

• 2007 - 'Game Plan' Sacks 'Kingdom'

• 2006 - 'Open Season,' 'Guardian' Lead Weekend

• 2005 - 'Serenity' Moseys to Tame Start

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