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'Meatballs' sticks to movie menu top with $24.6M

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[September 28, 2009]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Movie fans lined up for a second helping of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," which took in $24.6 million to remain No. 1 at the box office for a second straight weekend.

The Sony animated tale raised its domestic haul to $60 million after 10 days in theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday.

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" fended off Bruce Willis' action thriller "Surrogates," a Disney release that debuted at No. 2 with $15 million.

Opening in third place with $10 million was MGM's "Fame," a new take on the 1980s music and dance hit about students at a school for performing arts.

Michael Moore's documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story" opened strongly in limited release with a $240,000 weekend haul in just four theaters, raising its total to $306,586 since premiering Wednesday. The Overture Films release expands nationwide Friday.

Overall business dipped, with Hollywood's total domestic gross at $100.5 million, down 4.5 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Eagle Eye" opened at No. 1 with $29.2 million.

While it was generally quiet for new movies, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" held up strongly, its receipts dropping just 19 percent from a $30.3 million opening weekend. Revenues for many films fall 50 percent or more in their second weekends.

"We've seen that not only families but teens seem to be embracing it, as well," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "To only drop 19 percent, it's just one of those movies that's playing to everybody."

Some Hollywood analysts had expected "Surrogates" to open in first place. With a production budget reported at $80 million, the movie's $15 million weekend was a blow to Disney.

"Unfortunately, I don't think this was a great moviegoing weekend, for whatever reason," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney. "I'm disappointed we're not No. 1, but very happy we beat the other films we opened against."

While "Fame" opened even lower, it cost far less to produce, with a budget of just $18 million.

"Do I wish it was better? Yeah. But are we going to lose money? No," said Erik Lomis, head of distribution for "Fame" distributor MGM.

"Capitalism" opened in four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, its big weekend putting it on track to become the latest documentary hit from Moore ("Fahrenheit 9/11," "Bowling for Columbine").

With "Capitalism," Moore examines the roots of the economic meltdown, mixing interviews from people losing jobs and homes with his trademark stunts, such as wrapping crime-scene tape around Wall Street.

"People are frustrated, and I think Michael points some things out that are pretty thought-provoking and pretty eye-opening," said Kyle Davies, head of distribution for Overture. "It's timely. People want to see what's going on, but the movie's funny and entertaining at the same time. Michael's one of the unique people able to point to some topical issues and make it extremely interesting."

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Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.

  1. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $24.6 million.

  2. "Surrogates," $15 million.

  3. "Fame," $10 million.

  4. "The Informant!", $6.9 million.

  5. "Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself," $4.8 million.

  6. "Pandorum," $4.4 million.

  7. "Love Happens," $4.3 million.

  8. "Jennifer's Body," $3.5 million.

  9. "9," $2.8 million.

  10. "Inglourious Basterds," $2.7 million.


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Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue Pictures is owned by Relativity Media LLC; Overture Films is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.

[Associated Press; By DAVID GERMAIN]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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