Toon hybrid earns $13.3 mil; 'Cowboys' expected to win weekend

Stateside moviegoers saw blue last night as Sony’s “The Smurfs” took first with $13.3 million from 3,395 locations.

The nostalgia-backed live action-toon hybrid just narrowly beat fellow new release “Cowboys and Aliens.” The Universal actioner/oater grossed $12.99 million last night from 3,750 engagements.

Still, Uni’s release is expected to slip ahead of “Smurfs” as the weekend wears on. Pre-weekend tracking pegged “Cowboys and Aliens” for a mid-$40 million first weekend, ahead of “Smurfs'” projected $18 million-$22 million bow. Though B.O. observers expect “Smurfs” to drop off dramatically after Friday, tracking for family films is notoriously unpredictable and Sony’s release is on target for something closer to $30 million through Sunday.

Of its 3,395 playdates, more than 59% are in 3D, which could have aided its number one night.

In its soph session, Paramount’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” dropped 70% from its opening night to about $8 million from 3,715 locations. Pic has cumed just shy of $100 million thus far and is expected to wrestle with “Smurfs” for second.

A pair of Warner Bros’ releases are almost tied at the bottom end of the top five. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ made $6.625 million from 4,145 locations and “Crazy Stupid Love” made $6.6 million from 3,020. The studio anticipates something in the high teens this weekend for “Crazy,” with rival studios putting $25 million at the high end of the range.

A pair of high-profile indies also got off to a strong start last night. Sony/Screen Gems’ SXSW acquisition “Attack the Block” had a per screen average of $5,417 at its 8 domestic locations while Lionsgate’s Sundance pickup “The Devil’s Double” averaged $6,315 from 5 locations.

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