Clapboard: Moviegoers Gorge on Meatballs

LOS ANGELES ~ Stomach-churning children’s animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs topped the North American box office over the weekend, according to final figures from Exhibitor Relations.

The book-inspired film, which tells the tale of an island rained on by junk food, took US$30.3 million in its entree week at cinemas.

Served up by Sony, the film’s animated heroes licked Hollywood favourite Matt Damon, whose latest flick The Informant! came in a distant second, netting $10.5 million.

Damon plays an agribusiness whistleblower in a film directed by Steven Soderbergh, maker of Syriana, Traffic and Goodnight, and Goodluck.

In third place was Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself, directed, written and acted by Tyler Perry, who reprises his millions-earning Madea character, a rotund African-American matriarch.

The pistol-packing grandma held the top spot last week and was Perry’s second film this year to debut at number one. The film earned $9.9 million over the weekend.

Love Happens, starring Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, a widower who is transformed into a self-help guru who falls for Aniston’s character, debuted in fourth place with $8 million in ticket sales.

Jennifer’s Body came in fifth place, starring film siren Megan Fox as a possessed and killing-obsessed cheerleader, a combination that was enough to earn $6.8 million in its opening weekend.

Just behind was 9, which fell to the sixth spot in its second week. The post-apocalyptic animated feature produced by Tim Burton tracks the adventures of an improbable gang of burlap-clad rag dolls who square off against machines in an attempt to save the world, or what is left of it. It earned $5.6 million.

Slipping four spots to seventh was Quentin Tarantino’s World War II film Inglourious Basterds, about a group of Nazi-hunting Jewish commandos rampaging through occupied France.

It features Brad Pitt and, in a much-lauded performance, Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who plays a maniacal Nazi officer. The film took $3.8 million in its fifth week, for a total of $109 million.

At eight was romantic comedy All About Steve, starring Sandra Bullock as a crossword puzzle compiler who becomes infatuated with a television cameraman.

Sorority Row managed $2.5 million at ninth spot, with its tale of sorority sisters who try to cover up a prank that took a gruesome turn, only to be stalked by a serial killer.

Once box office number one, horror sequel The Final Destination plunged to 10th, with just %2.4 million two weeks after its debut.

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