LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg grabbed the box office crown from Leonardo DiCaprio on Sunday as their new cop comedy "The Other Guys" sold about $35.6 million worth of tickets, the film's distributor said.
The opening, which was in line with expectations, marks the second-highest of Ferrell's career and a big rebound from his 2009 summer bomb "Land of the Lost."
Wahlberg, making a rare foray into comedy, achieved his best opening since 2001's "Planet of the Apes" remake kicked off with $68.5 million.
In "The Other Guys," they play mismatched underdogs on the trail of a fraudster played by English comic Steve Coogan. Reviews were strong for the $85 million film, which skewed to young men, said Sony Corp's Columbia Pictures.
Ferrell suffered disappointing openings for both "Land of the Lost" ($18.8 million) and 2008's "Semi-Pro" ($15.5 million), raising speculation that another flop could hurt his ability to get big-budget studio films green-lighted.
His best opening remains the 2006 comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" with $47 million. "Talladega Nights," "The Other Guys," and Ferrell's 2007 hit "Blades of Glory" ($33 million opening) were directed by Adam McKay.
Ferrell and McKay are "one of the best comedy combinations in the industry," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Columbia.
After three weekends at No. 1, DiCaprio's dreams thriller "Inception" slipped to No. 2 with $18.6 million, taking the total for the hit Warner Bros. release to $227.7 million after four weekends.
Also new was "Step Up 3D," the underperforming third release in the urban dance series. The Walt Disney Co release opened at No. 3 with $15.5 million, well below its predecessors even with the help of higher prices for 3D engagements. Disney partnered on the project with closely held studio Summit Entertainment.
The acclaimed comedy-drama "The Kids are All Right" finally cracked the top 10 in its fifth weekend, rising two places to the final spot with $2.6 million. The total for the Focus Features release, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple, rose to $14 million.
Rounding out the top five were Columbia's Angelina Jolie spy thriller "Salt" with $11.1 million, and Paramount's Steve Carell comedy "Dinner for Schmucks" with $10.5 million. Their respective totals rose to $92 million after three weekends, and $46.7 million after two.
Ominously for Carell, "Dinner For Schmucks" lost 55 percent of its audience, one of the biggest drops in the top 10, and far steeper than the 34 percent second-weekend dip earlier this year for his comedy "Date Night." That film, which opened in the same range as "Schmucks," ended up with $98.6 million.
The picture looks even bleaker for Zac Efron, whose female-skewing tearjerker "Charlie St. Cloud" tumbled 62 percent in its second round. The Universal Pictures release fell three places to No. 8 with $4.7 million, taking its 10-day total to $23.5 million. That's still less than the $23.7 million opening for his film "17 Again" last year.
Warner Bros. Pictures is a unit of Time Warner Inc. Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Universal and Focus are units of General Electric Co's NBC Universal.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Beech