Friday Report: 'Smurfs' & 'Cowboys' Neck-and-Neck

by Brandon Gray
The Smurfs

July 30, 2011

On Friday, The Smurfs rustled up slightly more dollars than Cowboys & Aliens, upsetting pre-weekend tracking that indicated Cowboys would rope in more. Captain America: The First Avenger retreated to third, the final Harry Potter hit another milestone, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. rounded out the Top Five in its debut.

The Smurfs gathered an estimated $13.3 million on approximately 5,300 screens at 3,395 locations, which was greater than G-Force's $11.5 million on the same Friday in 2009. 2,042 of Smurfs' locations showed the movie in 3D, accounting for around 45 percent of business. G-Force had a 56 percent 3D share (from just 1,604 locations out of a 3,697 total), which means Smurfs likely sold more tickets as well. Smurfs was directed by talking critter specialist Raja Gosnell, and its opening day rated higher than Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed but far behind the first Scooby-Doo among his other movies.

Don't count out Cowboys & Aliens just yet. With an estimated $13 million on nearly 5,500 screens at 3,750 locations, it was so close to The Smurfs on Friday that it could still pull out a weekend win. Claiming a first-place opening, though, would only slightly mitigate an otherwise disappointing gross for a movie that tried desperately to be a blockbuster. Cowboys's Friday start was effectively on par with Super 8 ($13 million including Thursday previews) and behind Battle: Los Angeles ($13.4 million) and District 9 ($14.2 million).

If Smurfs and Cowboys follow the trajectories of past similar movies, their opening weekends would come in at around $36.5 million and $34.5 million, respectively.

Down 69 percent from last Friday, Captain America: The First Avenger took a typical hit, earning an estimated $7.9 million. Though Thor had a higher-grossing second Friday ($9.1 million), Captain maintained its gross-to-date lead over the summer's other superhero movies, rising to $99.7 million in eight days.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 crossed the $300 million mark, and it surpassed Half-Blood Prince to become the second highest-grossing Potter movie yet (and it's on track to topping Sorcerer's Stone's $317.6 million by the end of the weekend). The final Potter did drop considerably from last Friday (55 percent), though, coming in at an estimated $6.625 million for a $303.2 million tally in 15 days.

Meanwhile, Crazy, Stupid, Love. bagged an estimated $6.6 million on around 3,300 screens at 3,020 locations.

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Related Story:
Forecast: Can 'Cowboys & Aliens' Rope in Audiences?

Related Charts:
Grosses for Friday, July 29, 2011
All-Time 8-day Day Openings
'Harry Potter' Franchise

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