Pairing Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in a goofball, Adam Mckay-directed comedy was sort of a stroke of genius, I have to admit. It was commercially shrewd, since each actor has some star power on his own, but generally also needs something else to push his films across the finish line. It was also non-obvious -- the last time Mark Wahlberg starred in a straight-up comedy was never, unless you count The Big Hit. And it's paid off. The Other Guys raked in $35.6 million over the weekend -- Will Ferrell's biggest opening since Talladega Nights, and Mark Wahlberg's biggest since Planet of the Apes. The movie also did a number on Steve Carrell's Dinner for Schmucks, which will have to fight to get to $60 million after a reasonably strong debut last week.

The weekend's other new wide release was the franchise dance-a-thon Step Up 3-D, and it didn't fare too well. Maybe everyone figured out that Channing Tatum, who headlined the first film, is never coming back. Maybe a Step Up movie was a bridge too far when it comes to paying a 3-D premium. (I can certainly imagine why.) In any case, the movie more or less wussed out to the tune of a $15.5 million weekend, falling behind both of its predecessors. Maybe adding "3-D" to the title isn't the solution to every franchise's problem after all.


Paramount and Warner Bros. each rolled out fairly commercial offerings in limited release, to correspondingly limited success. The former's Middle Men, with Luke Wilson as an internet porn pioneer, got no traction at all, taking in $300,000 on 250 screens. The scheduled expansion looks unlikely. WB's Flipped, a period coming-of-ager directed by Rob Reiner, had a slightly stronger showing, with $250,000 on 45 screens.

The full top 10:

1 - The Other Guys (Sony) - $35.6 ($9,751) - new - $35.6
2 - Inception (WB) - $18.6 ($5,442) - 32% - $227.7
3 - Step Up 3-D - $15.5 ($6,366) - new - $15.5
4 - Salt (Sony) - $11.1 ($3,346) - 43% - $92.0
5 - Dinner for Schmucks (Dreamworks) - $10.5 ($3,495) - 55% - $46.8
6 - Despicable Me (Universal) - $9.4 ($2,754) - 39% - $209.4
7 - Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (WB) - $6.9 ($1,895) - 44% - $26.4
8 - Charlie St. Cloud (Universal) - $4.7 ($1,725) - 62% - $23.5
9 - Toy Story 3 (Disney) - $3.0 ($1,778) - 26% - $396.3
10 - The Kids Are All Right (Focus) - $2.6 ($2,622) - 26% - $14.0

Next week: The Expendables for the guys, Eat Pray Love for the girls, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for the movie geeks.