SUNDAY CENTS: Great ‘Balls’ on fire

Posted by · 10:57 am · September 27th, 2009

SurrogatesAmerica lined up for seconds as “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” topped the box office for the second weekend in a row, dropping only 19% to $24.6 million. That’s a fantastic hold for the only family film out in the market and makes $100 million a very real possibility, if not a formality.

It was an otherwise slow and disappointing frame at the multiplex as audiences found some other way to entertain themselves. Did football season just start?

Second place went to Disney’s “Surrogates,” which grossed $15 million. While that might sound a little soft, it’s actually better than Willis’s average for this type of film in recent years as “Perfect Stranger,” “Lucky Number Slevin,” “16 Blocks” and “Hostage” all did less than $13 million. The trailer was great but the posters featuring robot models were pretty weak and I think Disney missed an easy chance to take the top spot.

MGM released its first film since “Valkyrie” amidst reports of possible bankruptcy and the $10 million pulled in by “Fame” is probably not going to help matters much. When dance films like “Stomp the Yard” and “Step Up” can pull in $22 million each, a remake of a well-known classic shouldn’t pull in less than half of that. Of course, I use the term “classic” as loosely as they use the term “remake.”

Overture’s sci-fi/horror flick “Pandorum” also failed to light a spark with only $4.4 million.  That puts it among illustrious company like “John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars” and “Screamers,” which is a shame since it opened with good buzz and smart marketing. All you genre nerds out there, why didn’t you go? Maybe Overture should have changed the title to “Tyler Perry’s Pandorum.”

“The Informant!” held well, as expected, while “Love Happens” and “Jennifer’s Body” both dropped close to 50%. Score one point for quality there. The real action took place well outside of the top 10 as some Oscar hopefuls saw the light of day.

Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” exploded out of the gate with $240,000 from only 4 New York and L.A. screens. “Bowling for Columbine” did $260,000 from 8 screens when it opened so the provocateur’s latest call to action is poised for similar success. It won’t reach “Fahrenheit 9/11”’s phenomenon status and that’s what I think it would need in order to factor into the Best Picture race.

Audrey Tautou’s “Coco Before Chanel” also impressed with $35,000 per screen in 5 venues and Sony Classics should be able to milk this one to at least $5 million, which could put it in play for costumes or art direction at least. Miramax failed to generate much heat for “The Boys Are Back” though, and Clive Owen will likely have to wait a while longer for that second Oscar nod.

Busy week for me at the movies, starting with “Inglourious Basterds,” which I had sworn never to see but too many people I trust told me it was not the movie I thought it was, and they were right. Much, much better than “Kill Bill” but still leagues behind “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown,” it was somehow intensely satisfying and intensely hollow at the same time.

I also saw “The Informant!” and thought it was solid. I appreciated Soderbergh’s approach to the material and his execution, not to mention Damon’s fantastic performance. And I saw “No Impact Man,” which totally won me over in every way. Definitely check it out if it hits your town.

Next week gives us an invitation to “Zombieland.” As far as I can tell, this trailer plays like gangbusters and Sony should be able to get $18 million out of it at least. Fox Searchlight opens “Whip It!” and if they can convince people that it’s more “Juno” than “Post Grad” then they should be okay. I see a modest $8 million start before word of mouth lets it play through October.

Warner Bros. is dumping “The Invention of Lying” on only 1,800 screens and it’ll be lucky to gross $5 million. Ricky Gervais can’t catch a break with his movies but then maybe he shouldn’t be making shitty looking supernatural comedies. The double feature makes a comeback with “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” in 3D opening wide and your guess is as good as mine there. Could be big, or could be totally ignored.

“Capitalism: A Love Story” expands to 1,000 screens and should crack $7 million or so, while “Bright Star” expands to 200, but another disappointing week this week means that still won’t translate to more than $1 million.

What do you guys think?  Here are the weekend’s top domestic grossers, courtesy of domestic relations:

Weekend of Friday, September 25, 2009

→ 14 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

14 responses so far

  • 1 9-27-2009 at 11:11 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Make that $16 mil for Zombieland and $5 mil for Capitalism next week.

  • 2 9-27-2009 at 12:04 pm

    Joel said...

    I want to see “No Impact Man” really badly. Just not playing here yet. DVD for me.

    I saw “Love Happens” and enjoyed it. I also finally checked out “The Soloist” on DVD and loved it to death.

    “Zombieland” should be two things: (1) awesome, and (2) a big blockbuster. My opinion. “The Invention of Lying” will be a close second.

  • 3 9-27-2009 at 12:30 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    “Pandorum” should have been called “Resident Evil in Space”.

    All the ingredients to put together decent enough piece of paranoid psychological horror and we get “Dead Space”…

  • 4 9-27-2009 at 12:38 pm

    Cameron said...

    This just in-Roman Polanksi was arrested in Switzerland after 31 years

  • 5 9-27-2009 at 1:11 pm

    John said...

    I’m slightly disappointed by Bright Star’s current numbers (not disaster, but not great).

    I saw it 2 days ago, loved it, and will push it as hard as I can wherever I am.

    Any idea if it’s going wide eventually and/or what numbers it can ultimately bring in.

    Plus, the new trailer attached to BS for The Young Victoria is very nice, indeed. It’s made me really want to see it, as well.

  • 6 9-27-2009 at 1:58 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    A little off-topic, but I finally was able to see Antichrist yesterday and it was, well, interesting to say the least. I guess I should have expected the shocking scenes, but even still some of them really made me recoil. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the Epilogue,

  • 7 9-27-2009 at 2:31 pm

    damon said...

    Why the dislike for tyler perry? I know his movies are horrid but at least he puts black actresses in the leads of his movies

  • 8 9-27-2009 at 2:36 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    if princess and the frog and fantastic mr fox fisapoint we have a real chance at cloudy making it in the top 3, and if theres a top 5 it has to be guaranteed, what a fun movie

  • 9 9-27-2009 at 3:04 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I’m confused about people putting an exclamation mark after “Whip It,” seeing as neither its official poster nor IMDb recognizes such an addition.

  • 10 9-27-2009 at 3:18 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    John- Bright Star expands to 200 theaters on Friday and I can’t see it getting in more than 400 at the rate it’s going.

    Damon- I give Tyler Perry slack for putting his name before every one of his movies and often six or seven times in his trailers and posters.

  • 11 9-27-2009 at 4:48 pm

    Zach said...

    A currently immaculate Tomatometer and a lot of good buzz = The Invention of Lying doesn’t “look shitty”. The way Jennifer Garner’s been promoting the hell out of this movie may mean that there’s more than 5 million to be pumped out of this, but yeah, it’s certainly not going to do well financially.

  • 12 9-27-2009 at 6:48 pm

    Patryk said...

    The Tyler Perry/Oprah Winfrey producing credit for “Precious” is scary, although I am sure discerning audiences will not be deterred and the film will break on through to solid box office fueled by deserved awards attention.

  • 13 9-27-2009 at 8:10 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Why is Perry and Winfrey attaching their names to Precious (I refuse to use that ungainly full title) “scary” to you? They are well-known names who can market a film that needs all the help it can get to attract a wide audience, and it’s not like they can win awards for it since they are only credited as the executive producers.

  • 14 9-28-2009 at 11:26 am

    James The Greatest said...

    They’re one to two eligible releases short of qualifying for a five film race this year. Up seems to be the only lock at this point, though. Coraline opened AGES ago, so I unfortunately think it’s going to have to work to garner a nom. As I said last week, I really do see Cloudy’s prospects improving. (I would be totally okay with it sneaking into the race.) Between the above-mentioned films, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ponyo, The Princess And The Frog, and a mere three slots, this is probably the most crowded year for Academy-friendly animated films in recent memory.