Megan Fox’s Jennifer’s Body tanks; Jennifer Aniston’s Love Happens sinks; Oscar-hopeful The Informant! does just OK. All were felled by the animated Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Cascading fast-food beat out a flesh-eating cheerleader at the box office this weekend.
The 3-D animated movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs made a solid $30.1 million over three days. Based on the popular children’s book about a young inventor who figures out how to make it rain edibles, the film features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, and Andy Samberg.
Though it was good news for Sony, which has had difficulty gaining a strong foothold in the animation big leagues that are dominated by DreamWorks and Pixar (and, to a growing extent, 20th-Century Fox), Meatballs still had far less impact than other, recent 3-D animation releases, such as DreamWorks’ Monsters vs. Aliens and Pixar’s Up. And given the film’s $100 million production budget, plus millions more in marketing, profitability is far from a given for Sony.
Coming in a distant No. 2 was Warner Bros.’ The Informant!, the Steven Soderbergh-directed film starring Matt Damon as the quirky and unreliable real-life whistleblower Mark Whitacre, which grossed a meek $10.5 million. Although the film—which was financed by Warner Bros., Participant Media, and Groundswell Productions—has been compared to Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning, high-grossing Erin Brockovich, its debut was far less auspicious. The Julia Roberts-starring Brockovich opened to $28 million when it was released in March 2000. Granted, that film had the star power of Roberts and was a more traditional biopic than The Informant!, which mixes oddball comedy with the serious story of a Midwestern Everyman taking on a greedy, corporate behemoth. Given the film’s modest $22 million production budget, Warner Bros. won’t take a major financial hit, however, the studio has launched a costly marketing campaign for The Informant!, which is positioned as an Oscar frontrunner.
And then there were the ladies’ misfortunes.
Jennifer Aniston failed to live up to past performances with Love Happens, the $18 million Universal and Relativity Media romance, also starring Aaron Eckhart, which grossed a paltry $8.5 million. Aniston usually fares much better among moviegoers: Love Happens’ opening was a far cry from the first weekends of He’s Just Not That Into You, Marley and Me, and The Break-Up, and it continues Universal’s losing streak at the summer box office as well.
But perhaps the biggest disappointment of all was the weak debut of Jennifer’s Body, Fox’s horror comedy starring babe du jour Megan Fox ( Transformers) and written by scribe du jour Diablo Cody. Given these name attractions, on top of the usually reliable horror audience among teens—not to mention the strong word-of-mouth the film received at the Toronto Film Festival last week—the expectation was that Jennifer’s Body would be another Twilight, with a cannibalistic cheerleader substituting for Robert Pattinson.
But MFox is no RPatz (yet, anyway). The $16 million film grossed just $6.8 million in its first three days.
Box office Top 10:
1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - $30,100,000
2. The Informant - $10,545,000
3. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself - $10,060,000
4. Love Happens - $8,456,000
5. Jennifer's Body - $6,800,000
6. 9 - $5,458,000
7. Inglourious Basterds - $3,603,000
8. All About Steve - $3,400,000
9. Sorority Row - $2,489,000
10. The Final Destination - $2,375,000
Nicole LaPorte is the senior West Coast correspondent for The Daily Beast. A former film reporter for Variety, she has also written for The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Observer, and W.