Weren't we seeking flashy, content-free teaser trailers for Fame, like, a year ago? Or nine months out at least? That's the sort of marketing generally reserved for event blockbusters, not movies that get dumped into theaters in late September en route to a $10 million opening and -- most likely -- a final gross in the vicinity of $25 -30 million. What happened? Given the bad reviews, perhaps MGM/Sony realized with a few months to go that they didn't have an awards contender or likely crowd favorite on their hands.

On the other hand, I don't know what excuse Disney has for Surrogates, a perfectly serviceable, extremely commercial sci-fi actioner starring Bruce Willis and directed by T3's Jonathan Mostow. Willis actionally doesn't have the greatest track record in opening non-franchise releases, but $15 million for a movie like this is awfully weak; here is an instance where hiding a movie from critics arguably hurt. Overture's Pandorum, also hidden from reviewers, was a less surprising flop, with $4.4 million dollars for the weekend.

Taking top honors for the second weekend in a row was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs , which held up very well; it probably helped that it was really the only family film in the market for the second weekend in a row. The Informant! which did not make big waves last weekend, also held pretty well; it won't do Ocean's business, but should end up as Soderbergh's highest-grossing non-Ocean's film (the current titleholder is Out of Sight with $37 million).

The full top 10 after the jump.





1 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Sony) - $24.60 ($7,887) - $60.03
2 - Surrogates (Touchstone) - $15.00 ($5,083) - $15.00
3 - Fame (MGM) - $10.03 ($3,241) - $10.03
4 - The Informant! (Warner Bros. ) - $6.92 ($2,760) - $20.99
5 - Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself (Lionsgate) - $4.75 ($2,241) - $44.54
6 - Pandorum (Overture) - $4.41 ($1,759) - $4.41
7 - Love Happens (Universal) - $4.33 ($2,280) - $14.72
8 - Jennifer's Body (Fox) - $3.50 ($1,278) - $12.31
9 - 9 (Focus) - $2.83 ($1,399) - $27.10
10 - Inglourious Basterds (Weinstein Co.) - $2.72 ($1,389) - $114.46

Next week: Crowded with more low-key releases: the horror comedy Zombieland, Drew Barrymore's winning, familiar Whip It, which sneaked this Saturday, Ricky Gervais's The Invention of Lying, and the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 3-D double feature.