"Cowboys" edge "Smurfs" to take weekend box office

Mon Aug 1, 2011 4:38pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sci-fi western "Cowboys & Aliens" overcame the upstart "Smurfs" to win the weekend box office with $36.4 million in domestic ticket sales, according to final figures released on Monday.

"The Smurfs" movie exceeded expectations to finish a close second with $35.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to figures from Hollywood.com Box-Office. The live-action and animated film revives the little blue cartoon characters made popular in a 1980s television show.

On Sunday, distributors of both films had reported a tie, based on Friday and Saturday sales plus estimates for Sunday.

While "Cowboys & Aliens" claimed ultimate victory, its performance fell short of pre-release estimates for a big-budget movie with starpower and A-list backing. The film featured Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford as cowboys who take on aliens in the Old West and counted Steven Spielberg among the producers.

Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp, released "Cowboys & Aliens." Columbia Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, distributed "The Smurfs."

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Executive producer Steven Spielberg arrives for the world premiere of Universal Pictures motion picture "Cowboys &amp; Aliens" in conjunction with Comic Con in San Diego, California July 23, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>