Belfast Telegraph

Denzel shoots to top of box office

Denzel Washington's action-packed new movie 2 Guns is at number one at the US box office.

The Universal film, also starring Mark Wahlberg, pulled the trigger to capture the top spot by taking 27.4 million dollars in its first weekend of release, according to studio estimates.

The picture is based on a graphic novel of the same name and features Denzel as a DEA agent and Mark as a Naval Intelligence officer who must team up for an undercover operation involving drug traffickers and the CIA.

Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, said 2 Guns opened at the studio's expectations and attributed the film's success to Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur and the first-time pairing of Washington and Wahlberg.

"It was super casting," she said. "There was remarkable chemistry. The two of them work so well together. You see it on screen. Baltasar really gave them the energy to be able to do what they did in this film."

Fox's Japan-set superhero flick The Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman as the clawed warrior scratched out the number two spot with 21.7 million dollars in its second weekend, bringing the Marvel icon's total domestic haul to 95 million. Wolverine earned another 38.5 million dollars in 67 international territories.

The Smurfs 2 launched in the number three position with 18.2 million dollars. While Sony's kid-friendly computer-generated sequel based on the blue-hued cartoon franchise debuted below expectations in North America, Smurfs 2 earned a bright 52.5 million dollars in 43 international markets.

"It is one of those films that seems to resonate on every continent," said Rory Bruer, Sony's president of worldwide distribution. "We have about 36 big territories to go, including China. They love the blue ones."

The Warner Bros haunted house tale The Conjuring crossed the 100 million dollar mark at number four in the US after exorcising 13.7 million in its third weekend.

Elsewhere at the box office, Sundance Film Festival favourite The Spectacular Now, starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, earned 190,000 dollars in four cinemas in its debut weekend, while The Canyons made just 16,000 dollars at two cinemas, although distributor IFC Films said the erotic thriller starring Lindsay Lohan is performing strongly through video-on-demand services.

Other smaller films continued to perform solidly at the box office, including Sundance winner Fruitvale Station taking 2.7 million dollars in 1,086 cinemas and Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine with two million dollars in 50 venues.

"Summer is not just about blockbusters," said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "It's also about Woody Allen. It's about specialised films that challenge the audience - or are just different from the traditional, cookie-cutter, summer-style movie."

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