UK Box Office

It's raining food again ... Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Photograph: Allstar

It’s raining food again … Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Photograph: Allstar

Four years ago, the October half-term holiday was owned by Pixar‘s Up, which occupied the top spot for three straight weekends, and went on to clock up a hefty £34.6m. Sony animation Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs found its own niche in September that year, without the benefit of kids on holiday, but facing no direct competition for the family audience.

This half-term it’s a different story for the sequel to Cloudy. The chief cinema attraction for families is DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, which released on October 18, with previews the weekend before. Sony evidently thought the competitive environment was less formidable this time around, mounting a bid to share the half-term spoils with Turbo rather than seek safe refuge at another time. The strategy has paid off: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 opened with £3.66m, including previews of £1.55m. That compares with a £1.58m debut for the original Cloudy in 2009.

Meatballs 2’s opening salvo is very similar to the number achieved by Turbo the previous weekend (£3.89m, including £1.77m in previews), but by opening a week earlier Turbo has stolen a march on its rival and already clocked up £6.21m. Meatballs 2 is adrift by more than £2.5m but should steadily close the gap over the course of the school break. Also in the mix, incredibly: Despicable Me 2, back up to 13th place in its 18th week of release, with £47m to date.

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