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'Smurfs,' 'Cowboys' tie for top spot at N America box office

Updated: 2011-08-02 13:16

'Smurfs,' 'Cowboys' tie for top spot at N America box office

Smurfs Week NYC kicks off with a 3D Smurfs Village at Columbus Circle to promote the upcoming motion picture "The Smurfs" in New York, July 25, 2011. [Xinhua/Reuters]

"The Smurfs" tied with "Cowboys & Aliens" for the first spot at the weekend box office in North America.

Both films earned an estimated 36.2 million U.S. dollars, according to statistics from the North America box office authority However, "The Smurfs" opened in 355 fewer theaters than "Cowboys & Aliens," but in many cases had higher ticket prices because it was also available in 3D.

"The Smurfs," a live-action/computer-generated family film released by Sony Pictures, premiered on 5,500 screens at 3,750 venues, claiming the first place opening of 13.4 million dollars, better than "Cowboys & Aliens"'s 12.99 million.

After another two days' battle at movie theaters in the United States and Canada, the two main rivals obtained a surprise draw, each grossing 36.2 million dollars in ticket receipts. Monday's final results will determine the final winner.

"The Smurfs," based on a popular 1950s Belgian comic book, has been popularized by similar cartoon programs in North America in the 1980s, gaining a following among many adult moviegoers -- the core audience of the latest rendition.

The film is especially popular among family audiences, which constitute about 65 percent, according to its distributor Sony Pictures. Moviegoers gave the film an overall rating of A-.

In contrast, "Cowboys & Aliens," a hybrid sci-fi western based on a little-read graphic novel and starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and other well-known actors, appeals mainly to audiences 30 years of age or older. It received an average grade of B, according to CinemaScore, a market research firm representing moviegoers' attitude.

The third and fourth top spots went to two holdover films, "Captain America: The First Avenger" with 24.9 million dollars and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II," with 21.9 million dollars.

The eighth and final installment of the Harry Potter series has become the top-grossing Potter movie, earning 318.5 million dollars in 17 days. It has surpassed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first in the blockbuster series which fetched 317.6 million dollars. However, the latest Harry Potter movie ranked last in estimated attendance.

This weekend's third new film, "Crazy, Stupid, Love," a Warner Bros. romantic comedy, debuted in fifth place with 19.3 million dollars.

The top 10 films at North America box office include:

"Friends with Benefits," 9.3 million dollars; "Horrible Bosses," 7.1 million dollars; "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," 5.9 million dollars; "Zookeeper," 4.2 million dollars and "Cars 2," 2.3 million dollars.