‘The Expendables’ Tops Box Office With $35 Million

(Corrects year-to-date attendance in second-to-last paragraph of story published yesterday.)

“The Expendables” topped “Eat Pray Love” for first place at U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend, earning $35 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

“Eat Pray Love” came in second with $23.7 million in receipts for Sony Corp., researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“The Expendables,” directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, showcases an ensemble cast including Jet Li, Steve Austin, Jason Statham and cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The action-film is Lions Gate’s first to debut at No. 1 since the superhero comedy “Kick-Ass,” which was released April 16.

“It was a terrific opening for Stallone and it shows there’s still a market for old-fashioned action movies even if the main star is approaching retirement age,” said Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru LLC. “If you have macho men, guns, and things blowing up, then you’re going to find an audience.”

Julia Roberts stars in “Eat Pray Love,” a drama based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Roberts portrays Gilbert, who travels the world after a painful divorce, looking for new meaning in her life.

“Women wanted to go out and see this right away because of the book and the star,” Pandya said. “These female-skewing movies typically have good legs, so this one has a chance of reaching $100 million just in North America alone.”

‘Inception’

“The Other Guys” fell to third place from first with $18 million for Sony. The buddy-cop spoof features Will Ferrell as a tightly-wound forensic accountant who partners with loose-cannon Mark Wahlberg. The movie has taken in $70.5 million in two weeks.

“Inception” finished fourth with $11.4 million for Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio. The science-fiction mystery, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, has taken in $248.6 million since its July 16 release.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” had sales of $10.5 million to finish fifth in its debut for Universal Pictures. The action- comedy stars Michael Cera, who must fight off his dream girl’s ex-boyfriends to win her heart.

‘Toy Story 3’

“Toy Story 3,” which finished 11th this weekend, became only the 11th film to cross the $400 million mark domestically, joining the likes of “Avatar,” “Titanic,” and “The Dark Knight,” Hollywood.com said.

The latest version of the story of Andy’s toys is also the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the box-office tracker said. Next year, another Pixar sequel is planned: “Cars 2.” The original film came out in 2006 and had sales of $244 million domestically, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Next weekend, moviegoers are likely to return to 3-D as “Piranha 3-D” enters theaters for Weinstein/Dimension Films. “Lottery Ticket,” starring Bow Wow and Ice Cube, and Miramax’s “The Switch,” featuring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, will compete for top comedy.

Weekend sales for the top 12 films rose 6.5 percent to $133 million from $125 million a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Year-to-date receipts total $7.15 billion, up 4.4 percent from $6.85 billion. Attendance has dropped 1.2 percent this year.

The following table has figures provided by studios to Los Angeles-based Hollywood.com. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Aug. 13-14 and estimated sales for today.

Rev. Avg./ Pct. Total Movie (mln) Theaters Theater Chg. (mln) Wks ================================================================ 1 THE EXPENDABLES $35.0 3,270 $10,713 -- $35.0 1 2 EAT PRAY LOVE 23.7 3,082 7,690 -- 23.7 1 3 THE OTHER GUYS 18.0 3,651 4,930 -49 70.5 2 4 INCEPTION 11.4 3,120 3,644 -39 248.6 5 5 SCOTT PILGRIM 10.5 2,818 3,735 -- 10.5 1 6 DESPICABLE ME 6.8 2,923 2,315 -27 221.9 6 7 STEP UP 3-D 6.6 2,439 2,717 -58 29.6 2 8 SALT 6.4 2,834 2,241 -42 103.6 4 9 DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS 6.3 3,046 2,074 -39 58.8 3 10 CATS & DOGS 4.1 2,728 1,494 -41 35.1 3 11 TOY STORY 3 2.2 1,219 1,776 -31 400.8 9 12 CHARLIE ST. CLOUD 2.1 2,083 1,000 -56 28.7 3

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct.

(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$133 $125 6.5

Year-to-Date Revenue

2010 2009

YTD YTD Pct.

(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$7,151 $6,851 4.4

Year-to-Date Attendance: -1.2%

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net; Jeff Kearns in New York at jkearns3@bloomberg.net

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