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At the Movies

July 27, 2009

'G-Force' topples 'Harry Potter' at box office

LOS ANGELES — An elite squad of guinea pigs has worked its own brand of magic at the box office, taking the No. 1 spot from boy wizard Harry Potter.

The 3-D "G-Force" was the top movie at the box office this weekend, opening with $32.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Walt Disney release from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with its mixture of live action and computer-generated animation, is a "Mission: Impossible"-style adventure. It features voiceover work from Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan and Penelope Cruz as resourceful rodents.

Last week's No. 1 film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," came in a close second with an estimated $30 million. That's a whopping 61-percent drop from its huge opening last weekend of $79.5 million.

Coming in third was another of the week's wide releases, the battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth," which had a $27 million opening.

The sixth installment in the Harry Potter franchise has now made $222 million total, which is $14 million ahead of where part five, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," was after 12 days in theaters in 2007. And this week, "Half-Blood Prince" will start showing on 166 IMAX screens, which the last "Harry Potter" movie did from the start.

"So we're coming in with this one (in IMAX) a little bit late, but it's going to be a great addition and it'll keep our momentum going," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' head of distribution.

"G-Force" triumphed in a crowded summer marketplace with its combination of 3-D effects and the Disney and Bruckheimer brands, said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney's motion-picture group.

"You never go into a situation where you're competing against two important movies — the second weekend of 'Harry Potter' and the opening weekend of 'The Ugly Truth' — you never go in cocky," Zoradi said.

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