LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The executives at Sony/ Columbia studios have every reason to feel relieved as their latest film, the sequel to "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," opened at No. 1 place in North America this weekend.
The computer-generated 3-D animated "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2," which was screened at 4,001 theaters in the United States and Canada, is projected to reap 35 million U.S. dollars in ticket sales over the Friday-Sunday period, roughly 16 percent higher than the original's 2009 opening.
In doing so, the film notched up the fourth largest September weekend opening in terms of box office, trailing only another Sony 's box office hit "Hotel Transylvania," FilmDistrict's "Insidious Chapter 2" and Touchstone Pictures' 2002 romantic comedy "Sweet Home Alabama." Of the audiences who have seen it, families made up 80 percent. "Cloudy 2" cost 78 million U.S. dollars to make.
The top placing this weekend also gave Sony a badly-needed boost as the major filmmaking firm has been tormented by a series of underperformers recently.
The movie won over 58 percent of critics, according to reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and first-night moviegoers assigned an encouraging "A-" CinemaScore to it, which is a sign that it will hold well in the near future.
Last weekend's top-ranking film "Prisoners" settled for the second place with ticket sales of 11.3 million dollars this weekend. The Warner Bros. thriller, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, is projected to gross up 38.9 million dollars in two weeks.
"Rush," a Universal racing film starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brhl, was ranked the third and is anticipated to roll up 10.3 million dollars worth of tickets revenue from 2,297 screening venues. Eighty-eight percent of Rotten Tomatoes' critics sided with it, and audiences assigned an "A-" CinemaScore to it, which is good sign indicative of its future performance.
Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend, as estimated by studios, were "Baggage Claim" (debuting at 9.3 million U.S. dollars), "Don Jon" (9 million), "Insidious Chapter 2" (6.7 million), "The Family" (3.7 million), " Instructions Not Included (3.4 million), "We're the Millers" (2.9 million), and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (2.4 million).