Even the Norse God of Thunder may not be able to change the weather this weekend.
After a successful mini-run in New York and Los Angeles, Chris Hemsworth's "Rush" will expand nationwide. But the mountain of a man who plays Thor in the Marvel movies won't be able to beat Sony Animation's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2," which features the voice talents of "Saturday Night Live" alums Bill Hader and Will Forte, among others.
Both "Rush" and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's writing and directorial debut "Don Jon" will be in significantly fewer theaters than "Meatballs." Even with the considerable draw of Hemsworth's fellow Avenger Scarlett Johansson, the pornography-related subject matter and R-rating of "Don Jon" will prevent the Sundance Film Festival hit from making a "Meatballs"-size splash.
All but one of the weekend's new releases have earned praise from film critics: Paula Patton's PG-13 romantic comedy "Baggage Claim" had notched just 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer going into the weekend.
The skies look clear for "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" to grab the #1 spot at the box office. The first "Meatballs," based on the children's book of the same name, opened four years ago with $30.3 million and went on to make $125 million at the domestic box office. Industry forecasts put the sequel's opening around $45 million. Adam Sandler's ensemble animated flick "Hotel Transylvania" set the September opening record with its $42.5 million debut last year, leading to making almost $200 million worldwide.
Set in the world of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, "Rush" is the latest from two-time Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. "Rush" should collect around $12 million, which may not be enough to beat last week's box-office champ, "Prisoners." Hemsworth will undoubtedly find himself back atop the box office in November, however, with "Thor: The Dark World."
"Don Jon" will likely open in roughly the same range. Gordon-Levitt's biggest opening thus far has been "Looper," which made $16.1 million during its first weekend last year. It's a bit of September déjà vu for the actor, whose sci-fi flick opened against the kid-friendly cartoon "Hotel Transylvania." It should open bigger than JGL's 2011 film "50/50," which made $8.6 million.
"Baggage Claim" will crack the top five if it can fend off the holdover business of "Insidious: Chapter 2," as both movies should make about $7 million this weekend.
Metallica has been working the press hard in the run-up to the release of their 3-D IMAX film, "Metallica: Through the Never." They've promoted the blend of concert footage and art-film narrative at San Diego Comic-Con, on "The Colbert Report" and at premiere events around the world. "Through the Never" opens in 308 IMAX theaters this weekend, with a nationwide expansion set for the following weekend.
Speaking of expansions, the late James Gandolfini's "Enough Said" will move into 227 theaters. Both "Enough Said" and "Through the Never" should make about $1 million a piece this weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.