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'Cowboys & Aliens' rides a challenging trail

It picks up an estimated $15.8 million over the weekend. 'The Smurfs' grosses $21 million at home and does well abroad.

August 08, 2011|By Amy Kaufman | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • After it debuted to a soft $36.4 million last weekend, those behind the sci-fi western were hoping that strong word of mouth would propel it to longer-term success.
After it debuted to a soft $36.4 million last weekend, those behind the sci-fi… (Timothy White / Universal…)

The poor opening for "The Change-Up" wasn't the only bad news for Universal Pictures this weekend.

"Cowboys & Aliens," which was produced by the studio along with DreamWorks SKG and Relativity Media for around $163 million, saw its ticket sales drop 57% to a studio-estimated $15.8 million during its second weekend in release. The film's tally stands at $67.4 million domestically.

After it debuted to a soft $36.4 million last weekend, those behind the sci-fi western were hoping that strong word of mouth would propel it to longer-term success. But audiences seem to be more interested in seeing "The Smurfs," a 3-D family film that nearly claimed the No. 1 spot at the box office last weekend.

During its second weekend in theaters, the live-action/animation hybrid added $21 million to its total, which stands at $76.2 million. The film is also performing solidly abroad, where it has raked in $52.7 million from 42 foreign territories. This weekend, the movie performed best in Brazil but also played solidly in Belgium, where the blue cartoon characters were first created.

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