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'Meatballs' Smash Chris Hemsworth & Joseph Gordon-Levitt 'Rush'

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2'

'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2' box office: Sequel easily tops North America's Friday chart

Sept. 28, '13, update: By Sunday evening, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 will have provided further evidence that moviegoers are eager for new and original stories, after having been overflooded with sequels, prequels, reboots, and spin-offs. Sure. A Sony Pictures release, the $78 million-budgeted 3D sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is expected to collect – via Deadline.com – somewhere around $10 million from 4,001 locations this Friday, September 27, 2013, easily topping the North American box office chart. (Image: Kristen Schaal's Barb, Will Forte's Chest V, and Bill Hader's Flint in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.)

For comparison's sake, the original Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, also in 3D, took in $8.13 million at 3,119 sites in September 2009 (approximately $9 million today), going on to gross $124.87 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to $118.13 million internationally according to figures found at Boxofficemojo.com. Here's another comparison: in September 2012, Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania, featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Selena Gomez, debuted with $10.97 million at 3,277 venues. Hotel Transylvania ultimately cumed at $148.31 million in North America and $198.59 million internationally. (Note: international totals are frequently incomplete.)

Also worth mentioning, with $42.52 million, Hotel Transylvania holds the opening weekend record for September – if you pretend inflation doesn't exist. Adjusted for inflation, Hotel Transylvania is no. 3, behind the 1998 Chris Tucker / Jackie Chan comedy Rush Hour's approx. $57 million, and the 2002 Reese Witherspoon / Josh Lucas comedy Sweet Home Alabama's approx. $50 million.

'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2' cast

Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, and veteran James Caan (Lady in a Cage, The Godfather). As found on the IMDb, the screenplay is credited to John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, and Erica Rivinoja, from a story by Rivinoja, and by the two original Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

Friday box office: Ron Howard's 'Rush' in second place

According to Deadline.com, Friday's no. 2 movie at the domestic box office should be Ron Howard's car-racing drama Rush, starring Chris Hemsworth of Thor, The Avengers, and Snow White and the Huntsman fame, and European Film Award winner Daniel Brühl (Good Bye Lenin!), a lesser name in the United States, where most moviegoers lack the capacity to read subtitles. Rush is expected to collect around $3.8 million.

Not far behind, three movies vie for the third spot on the domestic box office chart: Last weekend's holdover Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Viola Davis, with $3.3 million; the Paula Patton / Adam Brody comedy Baggage Claim, with $3.2 million; and the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-directed-and-written romance-and-pornography comedy Don Jon, starring none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt himself and Scarlett Johansson, with $3.1 million.

Expect some switching around in the 3-5 box office slots once official Friday estimates are announced on Saturday morning.

Chest V (Will Forte), Flint (Bill Hader) and Barb (Kristen Schaal) in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 image: Sony Pictures.

Sept. 22

Prisoners Movie Hugh Jackman'Prisoners' movie weekend box office: Best 'serious' (non-musical) Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal opening in years (image: Hugh Jackman in 'Prisoners')

The nearly two-and-a-half-hour thriller Prisoners, directed by Denis Villeneuve, and starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, will easily top the North American box office this weekend, September 20-22, 2013. Currently playing at 3,260 locations, Prisoners took in $7.01 million on Friday, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Budgeted at a reported $46 million – not including marketing and distribution expenses – the Warner Bros. release is expected to collect around $21 million by Sunday evening, as per Deadline.com.

How does that compare to previous Hugh Jackman weekend debuts? Setting aside Tom Hooper's “event musical” Les Misérables and action movies such as The Wolverine, the R-rated Prisoners may turn out to be Jackman's strongest opening in an “adult (non-musical) film.” For comparison's sake, Baz Luhrmann's Australia, co-starring Nicole Kidman, debuted with $14.8 million at 2,642 sites in 2008 (or approximately $17 million today), while Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, co-starring Christian Bale, opened with $14.8 million from 2,281 venues in 2006 (or approximately $18 million today). Both movies were rated PG-13.

As for Jake Gyllenhaal, even taking inflation into account, since his co-starring role opposite Heath Ledger in Ang Lee's epoch-making Brokeback Mountain he has had only one opening above the $20 million mark at the U.S. and Canada box office: Mike Newell's eventual domestic disappointment Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which debuted with $30.09 million in May 2010.

Helping things out is the fact that awards-season buzz has been strong for Prisoners following its debut at the Telluride Film Festival a few weeks ago. The film, which has elements in common with Michael Winner / Charles Bronson's Death Wish, Sam Peckinpah / Dustin Hoffman's Straw Dogs, Pierre Morel / Liam Neeson's Taken, and Stanley R. Jaffe / Kate Nelligan's Without a Trace, currently has an 84 percent approval rating and 7.6/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Prisoners' official weekend box office estimates will be released on Sunday morning. Weekend box office actuals come out on Monday.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman topline 'Prisoners' movie cast

Besides Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, both of whom will likely be shortlisted for acting awards in the coming months, Prisoners also features two-time Academy Award nominee Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help), Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Maria Bello, Paul Dano, Dylan Minnette, Zoe Borde, Erin Gerasimovich, Len Cariou, Wayne Duvall, and Jeff Pope.

Director Denis Villeneuve's 2010 drama Incendies was a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nominee and the winner of 8 Genie Awards, including Best Picture, while his 2009 Montreal massacre drama Polytechnique won 10 Genie Awards, once again including Best Picture. Prisoners screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski's other feature-film credit is the Mark Wahlberg thriller Contraband; it's no coincidence that Wahlberg is one of Prisoners' executive producers.

Hugh Jackman Prisoners movie photo: Warner Bros.

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