Box Office: ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ and ‘Smurfs’ both claim $36.2 million for the weekened

Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Jon Favreau, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman have been bested by little blue Smurfs. Or have they? In one of the more surprising box office results of the year, Sony Pictures half live-action, half CG animated family flick “tied” the talent laden “Cowboys & Aliens” for no. 1 at the box office this weekend.

“Smurfs,” whose live action cast includes Neal Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria, was expected to open in the low $20 million range.  Instead, it pulled in an impressive $36.2 million.  Pre-release polling had “Cowboys & Aliens” easily winning the weekend with around $40-45 million.  Instead, younger men stayed away from the hybrid Western/Sci-Fi adventure and it also is claiming a gross of just $36.2 million. 

There is no way that both films will have reached that mark by Monday as either Universal or Sony is seriously overestimating Sunday grosses.  The actual weekend winner will be revealed when weekend actuals are released on Monday.

As for other films in the market, dropping to third was “Captain America: The First Avenger” with another $24.9 million for $116.8 million to date.  Marvel Studios’ second hit of the summer should top out between $165-175 million when all is said and done.  A stellar achievement for a 70-year-old patriotic super-hero.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” continued to weave magic in the fourth slot with with another $21.9 million and $318.5 million to date. That makes “Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” the highest grossing installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise as it surpassed previous champ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” which ended up with $317.5 million in 2001.

Debuting in the fifth slot was critically acclaimed dramedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love” with $19.3 million.  This is actually a smaller debut than last year’s Carell comedy “Dinner with Schumcks,” which found $23 million on a similar opening date. Warner Bros. has high hopes that strong word of mouth will fuel “Love” to a satisfactory gross with little quality competition the rest of the summer.

Next weekend’s new releases include “The Change-Up” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”