'Cloudy' on top for second weekend

11:10 AM PST 09/27/2009 by Carl DiOrio, AP

Newcomers 'Surrogates,' 'Fame' open weakly

Sony's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" proved to be a popular leftover item during the weekend, as the 3D animated feature repeated atop the domestic boxoffice with an estimated $24.6 million.

"Meatballs" dropped just 19% from its first weekend tally to dish up $60 million in cumulative boxoffice through its first 10 days in theaters. The pic's tasty second-frame hold was particularly notable in light of the session's generally bland boxoffice.

Three new wide releases met with less savory results on the frame.

Disney's sci-fi thriller "Surrogates," starring Bruce Willis, bowed on the lower end of prerelease expectations with $15 million in second place, while MGM's female-targeting musical Fame" was third with a limp $10 million debut. Overture Films' sci-fi pic "Pandorum" unspooled in sixth place with just $4.4 million.

Warner Bros.' Matt Damon starrer "The Informant!" was the strongest of three other soph-session holdovers, dipping just 34% to $6.9 million in fourth place for a $21 million cume. Universal's romantic drama "Love Happens" fell 46% to $4.3 million in seventh place with a $14.7 million cume, and Fox horror pic "Jennifer's Body" slid 49% to $3.5 million in eighth with a $12.3 million cume.

The weekend top 10 marked a 4% downtick from top performers of the comparable frame last year with a collective $79 million, according to Nielsen EDI.

Among limited bows, Overture unspooled the Michael Moore documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story" in four theaters in New York and L.A. and grossed $240,000 in Friday-Sunday coin.

That represented an auspicious $60,000 per venue, with cume reaching $306,587 since a Wednesday bow. "Capitalism" expands into wide release next weekend.

Sony Pictures Classics' Audrey Tautou starrer "Coco Before Chanel" debuted with five playdates and grossed $177,137, or a fashionable $35,427 per engagement.

Freestyle Releasing opened the R-rated comedy "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" in 120 locations and grossed $368,760, or an acceptable $3,073 per site.

Miramax debuted Clive Owen starrer "The Boys Are Back" in six theaters and grossed $51,000, or a solid $8,500 per venue.

IFC Films' drama "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" -- based on a David Foster Wallace story -- bowed in a single New York location to gross an impressive $20,587 ahead of its expansion into L.A. on Friday.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Jane Campion's "Bright Star" from Apparition added 111 playdates for a total 130 and grossed $682,309. That represented a solid $5,249 per engagement, with cume of $972,567.

Directed by Jonathan Mostow ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"), "Surrogates" co-stars Radha Mitchell in a futuristic tale about robots that live their owners' daily lives while the humans cocoon at home. The PG-13 pic attracted audiences composed 59% of males, with 67% of patrons aged 25 or older.

"I would have liked more, there's no question," said Disney distribution president Chuck Viane. "Unfortunately, it fell in a weekend in which not that many people decided to go to the movies."

"Surrogates" was produced for an estimated $80 million.

Rated PG, "Fame" drew audiences skewing 78% female, with 55% of patrons under age 25.

"Obviously, we would have liked to have made more," MGM distribution topper Erik Lomis said. "But at the end of the day, nobody is going to lose money."

MGM will split worldwide coin from "Fame" evenly with Lakeshore Entertainment. Lakeshore co-produced the remake of MGM's 1980 adaptation of the "Fame" stage musical about a performing-arts high school.

Directed by Alan Parker, the first pic grossed $21 million domestically. Television helmer Kevin Tancharoen directed the remake.

Foreign presales covered the $18 million negative cost on "Fame," according to MGM execs. The pic was the studio's first release since "Valkyrie" hit theaters last December.

MGM next will unspool the horror thriller "Cabin in the Woods" on Feb. 5.

Starring Dennis Quaid, "Pandorum" targeted younger males. Overture acquired domestic rights on the PG-13 pic for less than $10 million.

"We're disappointed," Overture distribution boss Kyle Davies acknowledged.

Looking ahead, four distributors will open pics wide on Friday.

Those include the Fox Searchlight-produced roller-derby movie "Whip It," starring Ellen Page. Fox offered 502 sneak previews of the film on Saturday and drew audiences filled to an average 62% of capacity, including scattered sellouts.

Also next weekend, Warner Bros. debuts the high-concept comedy "The Invention of Lying," starring Ricky Gervais; Sony bows the Woody Harrelson-toplined scifi comedy "Zombieland"; and Disney sends out 3D versions of its animated classics "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" as a double feature.
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