What the smurf is going on here? A clan of Belgian blue critters has stunned Hollywood, as The Smurfs led the box office on Friday with $13.3 million, according to early estimates. Sony’s $110 million live-action and animation hybrid, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Glee‘s Jayma Mays as a couple who take in six transplanted Smurfs, received horrific reviews. But that didn’t stop the PG-rated film, based on the famous Peyo comic strip and 1980s animated show, from topping what everyone thought was assured a first-place finish: Cowboys & Aliens. It’ll be a close finish, but The Smurfs should end the weekend victoriously with about $37 million.
As for Cowboys & Aliens, this opening has got to be a bit of a disappointment. The PG-13 picture, which courageously mixed the Western and sci-fi genres, settled for $13 million on Friday. That puts it on pace for a $36 million weekend. And while that’d be a solid start for many films, it’s not what one expects to see from a $163 million project directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), produced by Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer, and starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.
Although Universal hasn’t released any demographic info yet, Cowboys & Aliens grossed only an estimated $700,000 at midnight shows, indicating a lack of interest from younger moviegoers. It also performed nearly identical to Super 8, another Spielberg-produced alien film that also struggled to attract the teenage and young-adult crowd. Super 8, which cost only $50 million to make, collected $35.5 million its first weekend and then proceeded to hold up very well the following weeks. Cowboys & Aliens better hope it displays the same stamina.
The weekend’s third new movie, the PG-13 romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love., finished fifth and took in a respectable $6.6 million on Friday. The $45 million film, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone, scored strong reviews and continued the summer’s streak of adult-comedy hits. It’s on track to finish the weekend with around $19 million.
As for holdovers, Captain America: The First Avenger (while writing this, I initially mistyped The Fire Avenger, and I must admit I would have rather seen that movie) dropped a sharp 69 percent for $7.9 million. Cap’s on pace for a $25 million weekend, which would bring his two-week tally to about $117 million — just slightly behind Thor‘s two-week total of $119.5 million.
And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 conjured $6.6 million on Friday, pushing its domestic gross past $300 million to $303.2 million. By the end of the weekend, it should overtake Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($317.6 million) to become the top-grossing Potter film domestically. Also, Deathly Hallows — Part 2 is expected to reach $1 billion worldwide today. It’ll be the first Potter movie to join the billion-dollar club, which currently counts only eight other films as its members.
Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.
1. The Smurfs — $13.3 mil
2. Cowboys & Aliens — $13.0 mil
3. Captain America: The First Avenger — $7.9 mil
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 — $6.6 mil
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love. — $6.6 mil
Box office preview: Cowboys & Aliens takes aim at The Smurfs invasion