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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new spy spoof "Get Smart" took an early lead at the weekend box office in North America, while Mike Myers bombed with his latest comedy "The Love Guru," according to first-day sales data issued on Saturday.
"Get Smart," a remake of the '60s television series of the same name, earned an estimated $13.35 million on Friday, said distributor Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Time Warner-owned studio said the film would end up with about $37 million -- slightly ahead of forecasts -- once ticket sales for Saturday and Sunday are factored in. Estimates for the three-day period will be issued on Sunday, followed by final data on Monday.
"The Love Guru," meanwhile, opened at No. 4 with just $5.4 million, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo, and will fall far short of the $20 million range that Hollywood pundits had picked for the weekend. Paramount Pictures, the film's Viacom Inc-owned distributor, declined to comment.
The studios' decision to stake out the same weekend for their competing comedies surprised many observers, who predicted they would end up cannibalizing each other. Critics were largely appalled by both films.
"Get Smart" stars Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart, the bumbling secret agent originated by Don Adams. Anne Hathaway fills in for Barbara Feldon as his smart sidekick, Agent 99.
Warner Bros. partnered on the $80 million project with Australia's Village Roadshow Ltd. It looks to have a happier journey than the companies' recent disaster "Speed Racer."
"The Love Guru," which marks Myers' first on-screen appearance since the 2003 bomb "The Cat in the Hat," reportedly cost about $60 million to make. The Canadian actor plays a Deepak Chopra-style New Age guru.
Last weekend's champion, the Marvel Entertainment Inc-produced superhero saga "The Incredible Hulk," slipped to No. 2 with about $6.4 million, taking its 8-day total to $81 million, said Box Office Mojo. "Hulk" was distributed by General Electric Co's Universal Pictures,
The DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc cartoon "Kung Fu Panda" was down one to No. 3 with about $6.3 million in its third round. It has earned $140 million to date, said Box Office Mojo. "Kung Fu Panda" is distributed by Paramount.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jackie Frank