(All figures in this box office report are in US dollars)
Audiences still get Maxwell Smart.
Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway's "Get Smart," the Warner Bros. big-screen update of the 1960s TV spy comedy, raked in $39.2 million to debut as the No. 1 weekend movie at the U.S. box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.
But movie-goers did not get Mike Myers' "The Love Guru," the weekend's other new wide release. The crowds showed little affection for the comedy about a self-help mentor, the Paramount Pictures release taking in just $14 million to open at No. 4.
In limited release, "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" opened strongly with $222,697 in five theaters, averaging $44,539 a cinema, compared with $10,012 in 3,911 theaters for "Get Smart."
Released by Picturehouse and based on the popular line of American Girl dolls, the movie stars Abigail Breslin as a 9-year-old aspiring newspaper reporter during the Depression of the 1930s. The film expands into wide release July 2.
The weekend's No. 2 spot was a photo finish between DreamWorks Animation and Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda" and Universal's "The Incredible Hulk."
In its third weekend, "Kung Fu Panda" pulled in $21.7 million, raising its domestic total to $155.6 million. "The Incredible Hulk" was right behind with $21.6 million in its second weekend to lift its total to $96.5 million.
"Panda" and "Hulk" were close enough that their rankings could change when final numbers are released Monday.
Hollywood's summer surge continued, with total revenues climbing for the fourth-straight weekend compared to last year's. The top-12 movies took in $136.9 million, up nearly 10 percent from the same weekend in 2007, when Carell's "Evan Almighty" opened at No. 1 with $31.2 million.
The industry is on track to beat the revenue record set last summer, when receipts topped $4 billion for the first time.
"While the country may be suffering with a so-called recession, people are finding movies a fairly inexpensive way to get their entertainment," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "This proves the conventional wisdom that during tough economic times, the movies flourish."
In "Get Smart," Carell re-creates the bumbling Maxwell Smart character created by Don Adams, with Hathaway playing the capable Agent 99 as the duo tries to stop a plot to arm unstable governments with nuclear bombs. Dwayne Johnson co-stars as a superstar spy colleague.
Critics picked apart the movie for emphasizing action over the crisp verbal comedy of the TV show, but Warner Bros. figures that was a wise commercial move. While 60 percent of the audience was 25 or older, that still meant a sizable younger crowd that was more keen on the movie's action, said Dan Fellman, the studio's head of distribution.
"We were very pleased to have 40 percent under 25, because they did not grow up on the television show," Fellman said. "The filmmakers did a great job in making that happen. They broadened the audience and brought it into a modern-day bent."
Myers - who dreamed up the "Love Guru" character, co-wrote the script and was a producer on the movie - has been accustomed to blockbuster openings with the three "Shrek" flicks and his two "Austin Powers" spy sequels.
"Mike Myers, the master of the spy spoof, opens his movie against a spy comedy, and the spy-movie genre was obviously a lot more appealing to audiences," Dergarabedian said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Get Smart," $39.2 million.
2. "Kung Fu Panda," $21.7 million.
3. "The Incredible Hulk," $21.6 million.
4. "The Love Guru," $14 million.
5. "The Happening," $10 million.
6. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," $8.4 million.
7. "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," $7.2 million.
8. "Sex and the City," $6.5 million.
9. "Iron Man," $4 million.
10. "The Strangers," $1.9 million.
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Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Rogue Pictures are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; DreamWorks, Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros., New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.
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