Box office report: It's a tie! 'Cowboys & Aliens' and 'The Smurfs' both open to $36.2 mil


Image Credit: Zade Rosenthal / Sony Pictures Animation

In the battle between gruff cowboys and (cute, little blue) aliens, nobody apparently won. At least not yet. Both Cowboys & Aliens and The Smurfs grossed $36.2 million, according to studio estimates. This will all become clearer Monday morning. Until then, revel in the fact that we have an extremely rare tie here.

However, despite the photo finish, this is a much more favorable outcome for The Smurfs than it is for Cowboys & Aliens. The latter film, a $163 million Western/sci-fi concoction starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, was expected to easily win the weekend. Its pedigree was first-rate, with Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directing and Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer producing. Yet the PG-13 film struggled to attract younger moviegoers, who may have been turned off by the Western elements. According to Universal, 63 percent of the audience was 30 or older.

Its mediocre reviews may have discouraged those on the fence, too, and CinemaScore graders handed the film a “B” rating, indicating merely okay word of mouth. (CinemaScore participants are usually very generous, so a “B” grade is nothing to boast about.) Cowboys & Aliens performed slightly better than the summer’s other Spielberg-produced alien flick, Super 8, which debuted to $35.5 million. However, that picture cost only $50 million to produce and didn’t feature any big-name stars.

The biggest selling point for The Smurfs was the Belgian critters themselves, although having the impossible-to-hate Neil Patrick Harris couldn’t have hurt, either. The $110 million live-action and animation hybrid was the recipient of some very unflattering reviews, but the market was clearly hungry for a new family film. Sony simultaneously marketed the picture to both children and nostalgic adults who grew up with the Peyo comics and animated show, and that gambit seems to have paid off. The Smurfs garnered an “A-” score from CinemaScore audiences, with those under 25 giving it a solid “A.” Screens showing the movie in 3-D accounted for 45 percent of its opening gross.

The weekend’s third new release, Crazy, Stupid, Love., opened in fifth place to a respectable $19.3 million. The Warner Bros. romantic comedy, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone, registered a slightly better debut than last week’s Friends with Benefits ($18.6 million). Crazy, Stupid, Love is yet another victory for adult comedies this summer, joining prior hits The Hangover Part II, Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and the aforementioned Friends with Benefits. The $45 million movie also continued Carell’s impressive box-office streak — the actor hasn’t had a flop since 2007’s pricey Evan Almighty. CinemaScore audiences gave Crazy, Stupid, Love. a “B+” grade, while reviews were mostly positive. The PG-13 film particularly appealed to older women, with 71 percent of the audience at least 25 years old, and 64 percent female.

Among holdovers, Captain America: The First Avenger fell a steep 62 percent for $24.9 million. After two weekends, it has tallied $116.8 million, which is slightly behind what Thor had accumulated at the same point ($119.5 million). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 dropped 54 percent for $21.9 million, pushing the final Potter movie past Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to become the series’ top-grossing entry at $318.5 million. Also, Warner Bros. says Deathly Hallows will pass $1 billion worldwide today, becoming the first Potter film to do so and only the ninth movie ever to join the billion-dollar club.

In limited release, the British sci-fi comedy Attack the Block debuted to a decent $130,000 at eight theaters. Sundance indies The Devil’s Double and The Guard took in $95,000 and $80,400 at five and four locations, respectively. Miranda July’s The Future collected $28,200 at one New York theater, while the filmed-by-YouTube-users documentary Life in a Day disappointed with only $45,500 at 11 locations.

Check back next week as the prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes attempts to evolve past yet another body-swapping comedy in The Change-Up.

1. (tie) Cowboys & Aliens — $36.2 mil
1. (tie) The Smurfs — $36.2 mil
3. Captain America: The First Avenger — $24.9 mil
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 — $21.9 mil
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love. — $19.3 mil

Comments (155 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 4
  • Dave

    Wow, two garbage movies top the box office.

    • LOL

      America swims in a sea of crap.

      • America

        Mmmmmm….love all this crap, can we have some more please?

      • STFU

        Do you sit by your computer every Sunday and wait for EW to post the box office report just so you can write the same phrase? You always seems to one of the 1st to comment. I feel a little bad for you if that’s the highlight of your day

      • craig

        don’t you get tired of making the same old crappy comment week in and week out, you are as unoriginal as the movies you are complaining about!



      • STFU

        Wow, I typed so fast that I butchered my previous post. I’m better than that.

      • Joe

        I find LOL’s comments relevant… America does love crap.

      • Jake

        Wow these movies suck.

      • Jack

        The world loves crap. The communal self-loathing here is quite amusing.

      • Nancy

        cowboys and aliens was the biggest dog movie of the year we have seen so far

      • Ben

        I hate to break it to all you naysayers but LOL speaks the truth. America really does love crap and this weekends Box Office is proof.

      • daisy

        well Fast Five is proof that America loves crap. That was the biggest turd I have seen all year… of course I have not seen Cowboys & Aliens yet.

      • MJ

        Thanks LOL!!! I agree, Zombie America loves crap!!!

      • LOL

        Craig, I hate saying that phrase. But I am forced to every week when America rewards mediocrity. America got it right at the beginning of the summer with Fast Five, but it turned out to be a fluke. Since then they have given the top spot to nothing but crap. I know a film like Fast Five is hard to live up to, but I would settle for half as good, because that would still be pretty amazing. I feel my fellow Americans need the tough love that I provide. They were a good people once, they can be again, with the proper motivation.

      • sam

        LOL, your life must really suck

      • Dani

        You, as well as the people who claim you speak the ‘truth’, need to seriously get over yourselves. It’s no mysterious that today’s movies ain’t got nothing on old movies. With the expection of technology (and maybe literature), nothing (music, movies, etc.) has anything on the oldies. You people should stop trolling the comments section. Because, you guys are really annoying and give off the impression that you don’t have lives when you do nothing but sit in front of the computer, waiting for your chance to diss today’s movies. America loves the modern age. Get a life.

      • Tom

        With the “expection of technology”?

        face palm

      • Mike

        What I can’t understand is…for the most part the US Box Office and all other International Box Offices are reporting basically the same top movies. Yes, there was an exception for Captain America (gee, I wonder why). So, what exactly is the point you are getting at? Would you rather be in Istanbul watching the same movies dubbed over? Would it not be crap then?

    • Q

      I agree. Both of these movies really sucked, and I didnt even see them.

      • A16

        It’s great to know that you know what’s good and bad without even partaking in it. If you didn’t see either, then you can’t complain about them sucking or not.

    • Misty Panties

      Careful, I love Daniel Craig

    • Carlos

      @Dave; I agree. I didn’t want to see ‘Cowboys and Alien’ because I thought it looked like a stupid movie. Why in the world would they mix aliens in a western? Daniel Craig is ugly and look like a chimpanzee.

    • Justin P.

      LOL is a moron. Yet, Fast Five was a pretty good movie. And, I am sure that it is a lot better than C & A.

    • Eric

      I love people who bash movies they haven’t seen.

      • Justin P.

        If you’re at a restaurant, and crap is on the menu, would you order it just to see how it tastes? No, you wouldn’t. So, that’s how I feel about C & A.

  • DRG

    The crapfest at movie theaters continues.

    • Geek

      Winnie the Pooh deserved to do as well as the Smurfs did. Now there’s a family film that deserves an audience. Not crap like Zookeeper and The Smurfs. Ugh.

      • Hv

        You’re right. Winne the Pooh is of a much greater quality than the Smurfs and which one to people line up to see? Makes no sense.

      • Dwayne

        It crushes me that Winnie the Pooh didn’t do better the weekend it came out. Now, most theaters that are showing it have hardly any showtimes.

      • Q

        Lemme guess, Geek, you’re Italian, right?

      • Justin P.


    • Justin P.

      What the hell type of question is that, Q?

  • LOL

    America loves crap.

    • JPX

      LOL, I notice you say this on a weekly basis; what do you like?

      • STFU

        Nice. Now you’ve set him up for the obligatory Fast Five rant.

      • whatevs

        Don’t forget to set him up for the “GOP fears [insert liberal’s name here]” while you’re at it.

      • Greg

        How in the world you justify spending your hard earned money on crappy movies like these is incredible.

      • A

        You do realize that there is more than one LOL posting here, don’t you?

      • LOL

        Fast Five. Fast Five is what I like. Fast Five was the best movie of the summer. Possibly of the century. Possibly ever. If Vin Diesel doesn’t win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Dominic, or at least a nomination, it will just further prove that America loves crap! Vin Diesel is the sexiest man in cinema. Fast Five!

      • Captain

        I’m starting to think Vin Diesel and LOL are one in the same.



    • Greta

      I wish LOL would get medication.

    • America

      We love you, LOL, which logically means that you are crap.

      • Jeannie

        I love LOL. I am American. Americans love crap. LOL is crap.

      • Ghost of Pia

        Do you people know how many DIFFERENT people post here as “LOL?” You can’t be stupid enough to think it is just one or 2. Maybe you are the “crap” these LOL people speak of.

      • Ghost of Pia

        My nethers smell strongly like 3-day-old fish tacos.

    • Q

      America, you love me! You really love me!

    • Dani

      Get a life, man. Get a life.

    • Jason

      Funny how you should choose Fast Five. All you care about seems to be the action. Fast Five will not receive any Oscar nods.

  • Q

    Good for Crazy Stupid Love, although I was hoping it would do a little better. Good for Harry Potter, too. If it passes $1 billion worldwide today, will that make it the fastest any movie has ever grossed that much?

    • Marten

      Avatar crossed $1 billion worldwide in 19 days, so if Harry gets there today (which will be 17 days) yes it’ll be the fastest.

      • Samuel

        Actually, Harry Potter tied with Avatar at 19 days, since Harry Potter was released in most foreign markets on July 13. We got it 2 days after most of the world.

      • Dani

        It’s because the today’s ticket prices are so outrangeous. Not these two movies don’t deserve it, but they owe alot to today’s crazy high prices.

      • Liz Lemon

        True ticket prices are crazy, but HP’s prices have got nothing on the $15 it cost to see Avatar in 3D.
        DH2 still hasn’t opened in China yet and that’s one of it’s biggest markets, so I think it has a chance of ending up in the top 5 highest grossing films overall. :D

  • MWeyer

    This may be the shock of the summer, that “C&A” didn’t attract a wider audience given all the hype and big-star power. Really am amazed, thought it’d do better, has to be a disapointment for the studio.

    • Matt

      It’s not going to have any legs, either, with the bad word-of-mouth it’s sure to get. It was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time.

      • Wickeddoll

        You guys, so far, are the only non-critics I’ve seen diss C&A. Everyone else I’ve seen comment on it, seemed to really love it. This just goes to prove yet again, that one man’s meat is another’s poison.

      • DTO

        I didn’t think COWBOYS AND ALIENS was terrible but I hardly thought it was anything special at all, which is a shame given the cast involved. Then again, nothing this summer has blown me away like INCEPTION did last July. The best comic book movie I’ve seen was X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and the best comedy has been BRIDESMAIDS. Kind of a disappointing summer overall and can’t wait for the fall to get here.

    • Necro

      It’s because Favreau is a better fan boy baiter than he is a director. Laid two eggs in a row: Iron Man 2 now this turd. It’s now obvious he can’t hang with the big boys.

      • Tony

        He Directed Thor which wasn’t bad at all

      • Brian

        Kenneth Branaugh directed Thor.

    • Abe

      The movie was a stupid concept. It tried to attrack viewers with special effects. And star power? Ha, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig hardly qualify as cinema gold.

      • Grammer?

        Attract BTW!

      • DTO

        This is what happens when you pander to the nerd audience. Those not in this group won’t be interested. Those in the group will feel shortchanged and manipulated if a sci-fi/western starring Han Solo and 007 and a hot chick they’d never be able to talk to in real life turns out to be lame and turn on the filmmakers. I say this as an admitted nerd who left the theatre feeling dissatisfied with the movie because it had all the right elements but still fell flat.

    • Justin P.

      After seeing the first trailer, it was obvious to me that C & A would flop.

    • Liz Lemon

      It’s SO bad though. I’m telling everyone I can to avoid it.

  • A to Z

    In just three short weeks Harry Potter has passed 1 billion worldwide. Long ago it left the Twilight tripe in the dust and it keeps on going.

    • adam

      Worldwide, the lowest-grossing Potter film still grossed more than the highest-grossing Twilight film.

      • Mary

        The last two Twilight films outgrossed FIVE of the HP films in the USA. FIVE. Check it out on Box Office Mojo.

      • Jake

        They have nothing else to watch. What were they going to see instead?

      • B&B

        @Mary — the world is a much bigger place than just the US. All seven Potter movies have outgrossed ALL Twilight movies worldwide. ALL. Check it out on Box Office Mojo.

      • RT

        Why are you limiting your stats to just the US?

        In any case, if you insist on doing that, the average Potter movie has grossed 290 million in the US (and counting given the current movie is still raking it in) while the average Twilight sits at 263.

      • adam

        Mary, I was talking about worldwide box office. And my comment was correct. The lowest-grossing Potter film is Prisoner of Azkaban with about $796 million, and the highest-grossing Twilight film is New Moon with about $710 million.

      • Woot

        And Adam, Azkaban kills New Moon worldwide even more if you factor in inflation. Azkaban came out in 2004, and New Moon came out in 2009 (i believe.)

      • @ Mary

        Those Twilight movies made that much because the same sad, obese 14-34 year old women who sleep with Robert Pattinson pillows went to see it 12 times each.

      • Team STFU

        Twilight matters only to fat unattractive girls whose only hope for landing a man is to fantasize about a dead one in a stupid book and equally stupid movie. It’s called necrophilia, you whiny little witches. Twilight sucks the way you wish you could: hard.

      • daisy

        hey Mary, the LEAST worldwide grossing Harry Potter film SMASHED the HIGHEST grossing twilight worldwide film by over 80 million. Sparkly vampires are for little insecure girls who have no life

      • Encore

        All right, guys, I hate Twilight, too, but insulting girls who like it is pathetic. Twimoms and Meyer are fair game.

      • Q

        Lay off! I LOVE the Twilight movies! I CANT WAIT to see the next one! Team Edward all the way! He so fine!

      • asif

        @mary Harry Potter 2,4,5 sold much more tickets than you last 2 twilight films …. so either way harry potter wins ..

    • Liz Lemon


  • DavidJ

    Wow, I never expected Cowboys and Aliens to be huge, but I at least expected $40-50 million for the opening weekend.
    Clearly the interest was just not there.
    Personally I thought it was a pretty decent popcorn flick.

  • Saiko

    AHH the Big Blue Babysitter is at the Top(Tied At Least)Who would Of thought That would happen..

  • Scrooge McDuck

    Wow major Flop with Cowboys…maybe it can be saved overseas…Craig never a star, Ford as a star is over…Wilde will never be a star

    • Jake

      It’s like Howard the Duck Part Two

    • Will

      Cowboys & Aliens will not be saved overseas. When has an American Western ever done well overseas?

  • Jono

    Cowboys and Aliens was a lot of fun. Forget the critics, you’ll have a blast.

    • Dave

      I thought it would be a fun popcorn flick, but it didn’t even manage that. It was annoying and dumb and pointless. Waste of time and money. It wasn’t even fun like other silly summer movies like Snakes on a Plane.

      • Nancy

        Took the kids and we left half the way through the movie and asked for a refund. Terrible.

      • Jason

        What idiot asks for a refund? Do you really think the movie theater will actually GIVE you back the money YOU chose to spend? They did not force you to watch the movie. So damn entitled. And stupid. Ridiculous.

      • @ Jason

        Most movie theaters have a policy of issuing refunds within the first 30 minutes of a film (see’s article on this from a few weeks back). And it’s not like the theater is losing money — in the first week of release, 80% of a film’s earnings go to the distributor, not to the venue. Your mom should have requested a refund when you were born, you ridiculous idiot.

    • Jono

      … in your pants.

  • Amanda

    Thank God my kids are older and had no desire to see “The Smurfs”. However, it is only 1pm on the west coast and I am planning on seeing “Crazy Stupid Love” at 5pm with some friends, so that will add on some more money for them, right? I am really looking forward to seeing it and hope I am not disappointed.

    • adam

      Crazy Stupid Love was good. You’ll enjoy it.

  • Q

    What’s most troubling is that The Smurfs will almost certainly get a sequel.

    • whatevs


    • Laura

      Really??? THAT’S the most troubling thing to you right now? Ignorance truly is bliss.

      • Q

        Laura, you’re an idiot. My comment implied what’s most troubling about this box office news, not about the status of the world. This is an entertainment website. Your attempt at being a smarta** failed, just like you do at life.

      • Q

        I also forgot to add that my life is so devoid of joy or meaningful activity that I actually came back on this entertainment website 2 hours later to see if anyone had responded to my brilliant comments, and lo and behold someone had. Unfortunately, it was an idiot, as anyone is who is not me most surely is. Now I shall return to shoving my globelike head back inside my extremely ample posterior, where it shall rest comfortably until such a time as I deem it necessary to grace you all with my brilliance.

      • Some Guy

        @Q directly above me…I think you’re the one whose life is devoid of meaningful activity if you find it necessary to pretend to be someone else on a comment board and write comments like that. Loser.

    • @Q

      I find it troubling too, most troubling on this particular page devoted to these two particular movies. Chill out, Laura.

    • L

      Yikes. Well at least we can be pretty sure that the sequel won’t do very good. So there won’t be a third!

  • Rachel Maddow’s Future Husband

    Wow. I thought for sure the idiotic Fox News viewers would be out this weekend to see Cowboys vs. Aliens. Probably not enough anal probing in the movie for them to go see it.

    • Woot

      You are aware Rachel Maddow is a lesbian right?

      • Wickeddoll

        As far as I know, lesbians aren’t into anal sex, as a rule.

      • ac360

        and she’s not on fox.

      • Q

        I love Rachel Maddow and I’m not even a lesbian. I don’t kno any lesbians, but I suspect the woman who worked on my computer is one

    • Justin P.

      Wow, the OP is an idiot.

  • Jason

    Eh. I enjoyed the Smurfs. *don’t shoot*

    • Ann Coulter

      Is it wrong that the Smurfs make me horny?

      • Rachel Maddow

        No Ann, it’s ok. Of course you have a thing for the Smurfs being the female Gargamel

  • DocRules

    That’s too bad about Life in a Day. It was an absolutely wonderful film.

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