'Smurfs' tie 'Cowboys & Aliens' for box office gold

LOS ANGELES, July 31, 2011 (AFP) - In an unusual matchup, big-budget Hollywood action thriller "Cowboys & Aliens" shared the top box office spot this weekend with kid animation "The Smurfs," industry estimates showed Sunday.

"Cowboys," with reported production costs of around $163 million and starring Hollywood A-listers Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig as cowboys warding off an alien invasion in the 19th century Old West, pocketed $36.2 million for its opening weekend, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Those figures were on par with ticket receipts from the small blue Smurf creatures first created by a Belgian cartoonist more than 50 years ago, likely riding on a wave of family appeal. Some theaters offered to view the film in 3D.

In third spot, "Captain America: The First Avenger," featuring the beloved comic book hero, took in $24.9 million during its second week of showing, ahead of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows -- Part 2."

During its third week in theaters, the eighth and final episode scored $21.9 million, for a total of $116.8 since its smash release in early July.

"Deathly Hallows" records include one for single-day ticket sales ($92.1 million) and another for midnight premiere sales ($43.5 million).

Adult romantic comedy "Crazy, Stupid, Love" raked in $19.3 million. A middle-aged father played by Steve Carell learns how to get women as he deals with the adulterous tendencies of his wife (Julianne Moore) for this new release.

Sixth place went to "Friends with Benefits," a romantic comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. It sold $9.3 million in tickets during its second weekend in theaters.

Dark comedy "Horrible Bosses" netted $7.1 million, while "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" took $6 million.

Sony's "Zookeeper" got $4.2 million, ahead of 10th place finisher "Cars 2," with $2.3 million.