Nabbing $8.6 million, serious comedy tops G-Force

A more serious Adam Sandler didn’t turn away Judd Apatow fans Friday as Universal’s “Funny People” took the top spot with $8.6 million, overtaking last weekend’s No. 1 title “G-Force.”

Positioned as a serious comedy by Universal, the opening day for “Funny People” is in line with Apatow’s previous directorial outings at the B.O., ranking behind 2007’s “Knocked Up” ($9.8 million) and ahead of 2005’s “The 40-Year Old Virgin” ($7.1 million). “Knocked Up” wound up charting an opening weekend of $30.7 million, while “Virgin” earned $21.4 million.

While the opening for “Funny People” is at the lower end of Adam Sandler’s B.O., it turns out to be his highest for an R-rated title. Universal bowed “Funny People” at 3,008 theaters.

More notable than their opening weekends, Apatow’s fare has always shown strong legs at the box office: both “Knocked Up” and “Virgin” respectively registered soft drops in their sophomore frames of 36% and 24% and ultimately cleared the century mark in their domestic tallies.

“Funny People” stars Adam Sandler as a superstar comedian who battles a terminal disease while taking a young stand-up, played by Seth Rogen, under his wing. The film also features Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann, Jason Schwartzman as well as a string of stand-up cameos by Ray Romano, Andy Dick and Norm MacDonald playing themselves.

Other wide releases yesterday included Fox’s family pic “Aliens in the Attic” which ranked fifth with $2.8 million off 3,106 and Freestyle Releasing’s horror pic “The Collector” which generated $1.3 million off 1,325.

Disney’s moppet 3-D pic “G-Force” about a squad of guinea pig spies took second with $5.8 million off 3,697, a 50% decline, for an eight-day cume of $55.2 million. Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” placed third with $5.4 million on 4,393, down 42% and a running cume in its third Friday of $243.2 million. Sony’s R-rated romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth” grossed $4.4 million off 2,882, a 59% decline for an eight day cume of $45.9 million.

Fox Searchlight’s “500 Days of Summer” continued to post strong theater averages and Friday to Friday upticks, with $3,280 per site and an increase of 75% from a week ago. The Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel romantic comedy made $872,000 yesterday after moving its theater count from 85 to 266.

Searchlight also bowed another romantic comedy “Adam” yesterday from helmer Max Mayer and starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne which charted $21,000 at four venues for a per theater of $5,222.

Focus Features unspooled its South Korean vampire pic “Thirst” from director Chan-wook Park whose credits include the cult pic “Old Boy. The horror title drew $17,000 from four engagements or $4,347 per site.

Eros’ Bollywood title “Love Aaj Kal” drew $333,000 at 102 locales for a per theater of $3,265.

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