This film image released by Sony Pictures Animation shows characters, from left, Earl, voiced by Terry Crews, Flint, voiced by Bill Hader, and Sam, voiced by Anna Faris in a scene from “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Animation)
by Derrik J. Lang
AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” slurped up the box office.
The animated Sony sequel featuring the voices of Bill Hader and Anna Faris opened in first place and earned $35 million in its debut weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The original “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was showered with $30.3 million during its opening weekend in 2009.
“It’s remarkable that it did as well as and surpassed the first film,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony Pictures. “The filmmakers really ratcheted it up in terms of palette and tone. It’s one of those films that just draws you in. The story is fun, and there’s something for the whole family.”
Terry Crews, Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris and Kristen Schaal seen on the red carpet at the Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation premiere of ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ held at the Regency Village Theatre on Saturday, Sept, 21, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP)
Last week’s top film, “Prisoners,” slid to second place. The Warner Bros. kidnapping thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal nabbed $11.3 million in its second weekend, bringing its total domestic haul to $38.9 million.
Universal’s Formula One tale “Rush,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth, drove into the third position with $10.3 million in its second outing after expanding to 2,297 theaters in wide release.
The weekend’s other new releases — Fox Searchlight’s “Baggage Claim” and Relativity’s “Don Jon” — didn’t have debuts quite as sunny as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”
“Baggage Claim,” which features Paula Patton as a love-seeking flight attendant, opened in fourth place with $9.3 million.
“Don Jon” debuted at No. 5 with $9 million. The film was written, directed by and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as well as Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.
Overall, the box office was down more than 7 percent versus the same weekend last year, when “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper” opened in the top two spots at the box office.
“This was a solid, post-summer weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. “We’re heading into a time where some of the most challenging and best films of the year are going to be released, like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Runner Runner.'”
Pantelion Films’ “Instructions Not Included,” the Spanish-language comedy starring Eugenio Derbez, earned $3.4 million in its fifth weekend at the box office, bringing its domestic total to $38.6 million and making it the highest grossing Spanish-language film of all time. The record was previously held by “Pan’s Labyrinth” with $37.6 million. Overseas, “Instructions Not Included” earned an additional $8 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” $35 million.
2. “Prisoners,” $11.3 million ($4.1 million international).
3. “Rush,” $10.3 million ($5.6 million international).
4. “Baggage Claim,” $9.3 million.
5. “Don Jon,” $9 million ($500,000 international).
6. “Insidious: Chapter 2,” $6.7 million ($4.9 million international).
7. “The Family,” $3.7 million ($900,000 international).
8. “Instructions Not Included,” $3.4 million ($8 million international).
9. “We’re the Millers,” $2.9 million ($7.1 million international).
10. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” $2.4 million ($1.9 million international).
Estimated weekend ticket sales Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon,” $17 million.
2. “Runner Runner,” $11.2 million.
3. “The Smurfs 2,” $8.8 million.
4. “Instructions Not Included,” $8 million.
4. “Elysium,” $8 million.
5. “Planes,” $7.9 million.
6. “We’re the Millers,” $7.1 million.
7. “The Conjuring,” $7 million.
8. “2 Guns,” $6.8 million.
9. “Turbo,” $6.1 million.
10. “White House Down,” $6 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .