Here's hoping the boxoffice is as good as the 86% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
The Los Angeles Times's business section emphasizes the clouds ...
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, which opens tomorrow, is likely to sell close to $30 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, according to people who have seen pre-release audience polling. That's just a little better than the first movie from the studio's Sony Pictures Animation division, Open Season, that opened to a so-so $23.6 million in late September of 2006. Given three years of inflation and the fact that 55% of its theaters will play the movie in 3-D, which typically adds a $2 to $3 surcharge to ticket prices, that means Cloudy will be essentially keeping pace with Open Season.
Sony's second animated feature, 2007's Surf's Up, was a flop, grossing only $58.9 million domestically.
September is generally a slow month at the box office, particularly for family films, so an opening over $30 million would be something of an accomplishment for Sony. The studio's choice of a relatively weak date for a family movie, however, signifies its unwillingness to compete with higher-profile offerings like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters vs. Aliens and Up.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, based on the popular children's book, cost a hefty $100 million to produce, so even a $30-million debut isn't too strong a start. The studio is surely hoping Cloudy will follow the path of Open Season, which ultimately grossed $85.1 million domestically.
At the same time, Times reviewer Glenn Whipp sees sunshine and food:
For the big musical montage number in the wildly enjoyable Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, the filmmakers chose Lesley Gore's giddy "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows", but they could just as well have taken a page from Oliver! and gone with "Food, Glorious Food."
Transferring the popular children's book to the big screen, first-time writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller conjure up a veritable blizzard of ways of channeling chow, carrying it off with enough brio to send audiences into a food coma. Really, between the animated rainstorms of Flintstones-sized steaks and the creation of a translucent Jell-O palace, the movie's loopy use of food puts it in the hall of fame between Big Night and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ...
Variety's Peter Debruge is at odds with the Times's dour b.o. forecast:
Tut tut, it looks like a hit for Sony Pictures Animation. Eye-popping and mouth-watering in one, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs spins a 30-page children's book into a 90-minute all-you-can-laugh buffet, expanding the premise of a town where it rains ketchup and hot dogs to disaster-movie proportions. With drooling tongues in cheek, tyro helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ... bring a fresh, irreverent sensibility to bigscreen computer animation, using 3D projection to maximize their sky-is-falling scenario. This box office and concession-stand draw should make exhibitors very happy.