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Who Needs Beer in Hell When There Are Meatballs in Heaven?

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | September 28, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | September 28, 2009 |

If you’d have asked me two months ago about this last weekend, I’d have told you it would’ve been a big one at the box office. A sci-fi movie starring Bruce Willis, and an Aliens knock-off that actually looked decent. But the weekend came and went, and not even I could muster up any enthusiasm for the sci-fi movies in question. The result: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which is perhaps the best CGI 3D movie in existence — it’s certainly the biggest justification so far for the renewed enthusiasm for 3D — held on to the top spot. And it wasn’t a slim victory, either. Cloudy scored $24 million at the box office, falling only 18 percent from its opening weekend. That’s almost unheard of for a movie that had a $30 million debut. It happens, occasionally, that a big movie will have an equally big second weekend, but it’s usually Christmas releases, where Christmas falls on the opening weekend. What we’re seeing here is the second biggest word-of-mouth hit of the year, after The Hangover.

The news for Bruce Willis wasn’t nearly as good, as his sci-fi thriller, The Surrogates, managed just a $15 million opening. That’s par for the course for Bruce Willis, of late. He has a huge hit, then follows it up with three of four mediocre movies, before returning with another hit. The showing of The Surrogates is probably enough to compel him back to the Die Hard franchise.

Meanwhile, Fame, the most whitebread movie of 2009, landed at third, with just $10 million (review later today). For a movie released in over 3,000 theaters, that’s actually the 21st worst showing all time. How’s that for a fascinating fun fact? (Number one on that list was a movie called Hoot, which managed only $3 million). Last week’s number two film, The Informant!, slipped two place to number four, adding $7 million and bringing the cumulative gross to $20 million. Tyler Perry maintained his position in the top five, and I Can Do Bad All By Myself has now grossed $44 million.

The other wide release this weekend, Pandorum, mustered only $4 million, to land at number six. With a $40 million budget, that’s an official dud. Maybe studios will now be less inclined to greenlight Paul W.S. Anderson projects. Jennifer’s Body continued its woefulness, adding only $3.5 million, to bring the two week total to a mere $12 million. It apparently hasn’t hurt Diablo Cody’s cred — she’s now adapting the Sweet Valley High series for the big screen, and rumor has it she’s circling the Playboy movie, about Hugh Hefner.

9 lands at number nine this weekend, and Inglourious Basterds rounds out the top ten — Tarantino’s movie has now put up $114 million, $7 million more than Tarantino’s second biggest hit to date, Pulp Fiction.

Good news: Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell tanked, hard. It made only $369,000 in its opening weekend (we’ll have a review tomorrow). That may be the best news of the weekend.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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