If the summer went out with a whimper, September is going out with a friendly shrug. With just over a third of the number of films in release as last year (44 compared to 120), the box office managed to stick in there, missing last year's domestic gross by only $11.7 million (2012—$119.3 million, 2013—$107.6 million). Now what does that mean? Well, there weren't that many choices, but nearly the same amount of people showed up and the average film did better statistically. Don't worry though, this should turn around soon as more prestigious and awards-eying films to continue to roll out in the upcoming weeks.
In the top spot, "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" made $35 million, surpassing its predecessor's $30.3 million opening weekend. Although it didn't beat out last year's record-setting "Hotel Transylvania" opening ($42.5 million), 'Cloudy 2' still did remarkably well, outperforming "Open Season" ($23.6 million) and "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs," making it the third best opening weekend of Sony Pictures Animation (after "Hotel Transylvania" and "The Smurfs"—$35.6 million) and the fourth best September opening of all time. 'Cloudy' went on to make $124.9 million for its domestic run and we'd wager that 'Cloudy 2' is on a similar track with no new family-friendly fare until "Free Birds" opens in November.
In its second weekend, "Prisoners" held its own, coming in at second place with $11.2 million. With a running total of $39 million, "Prisoners" should cross the $50 million domestic mark in the next week or so if "Gravity" and "Runner Runner" don't take away too much of its possible audience next weekend.
In third, "Rush" expanded from 5 to 2,297 theaters and made a disappointing $10.3 million. Not quite the best in terms of box office for anyone involved, it does marks the 16th best opening for a car racing movie (without adjustment for inflation) and funnily enough lands right between "The Cannonball Run" ($11.8 million) and "Cannonball Run 2" ($8.3 million). Despite this, it looks like the film should do well overseas as it's already #1 in the U.K. and has made $17.6 million in international territories.
In fourth, "Baggage Claim," a conventional romantic comedy involving an air stewardess, picked up $9.3 million. In fifth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon," an unconventional romantic comedy involving porn addiction, didn't fare much better and barely charmed its way to $9 million, less than half of the opening weekend of "Looper" ($20.8 million).
Sliding four spots with the largest percentage drop in ticket sales on the leader board (51.1%), "Insidious: Chapter 2" made $6.75 million. With similar drops on the board, "The Family" came in seventh with $3.7 million and "Instructions Not Included" brought in $3.4 million (though with a running total of $38.6 million, it's now become highest grossing Spanish-language film at the U.S. box office). Both "We're The Millers" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" fell three spots to ninth and tenth with $2.8 million and $2.4 million, respectively.
As for specialty box office, it was a strong weekend for debuts, though Nicole Holefcener's holdover "Enough Said" led the pack. The romantic comedy expanded from 4 to 227 theaters and made $2.1 million, averaging $9,317 per theater (the largest P.T.A. of the weekend for a film screening in more than one theater). Technically, Greg Camalier's "Muscle Shoals" had the best P.T.A. of the weekend, but it only screened in one theater. The music documentary opened at the IFC Center in New York City and made $14,000. Opening in two theaters, Jim Mickle's horror thriller "We Are What We Are" made $15,081, averaging $7,540 per theater. Opening in 305 IMAX theaters, Nimród Antal's "Metallica: Through The Never" made a whopping $1.7 million, averaging $5,482 per theater. In fifth, Jacob Kornbluth's documentary about income inequality "Inequality For All" opened in 28 theaters and made $140,000, averaging $5,000 per theater.
1. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (Sony) - $35,000,000
2. Prisoners (Warner Bros.) - $11,270,000 ($38,954,000)
3. Rush (Universal) - $10,314,000 ($10,574,000)
4. Baggage Claim (Fox Searchlight) – $9,300,000
5. Don Jon (Relativity Media) - $9,000,000
6. Insidious: Chapter 2 (FilmDistrict) - $6,747,000 ($69,544,000)
7. The Family (Relativity Media) - $3,674,000 ($31,696,000)
8. Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate) - $3,380,000 ($38,567,000)
9. We're The Millers (Warner Bros.) - $2,865,000 ($142,418,000)
10. Lee Daniels' The Butler (The Weinstein Company) - $2,417,000 ($110,281,000)