It showcases an epic battle between aliens and humans, but it turns out that the biggest winner of the weekend isn't going to be Aaron Eckhart or the extra-terrestrials he faces in "Battle: Los Angeles," but an entirely different, third combatant: the film itself.
Led by an all-star cast headlined by the "Thank You For Smoking" star, "Battle: Los Angeles" topped all comers at the Friday night box office with an estimated $13.5 million from 3,417 theaters. The story of a surprise war waged by aliens for control of Earth, the flick should eek out approximately $40 for the weekend and another number one opening for the star of "The Dark Knight" in his first return to big budget action.
The secret to the film's success? Not treating an alien invasion movie like an alien invasion movie, director Jonathan Liebesman told MTV News.
"This is a more down and dirty alien movie," Liebesman said. "This is like if ['Bourne Supremacy' director] Paul Greengrass got a camera, saw some aliens, and shot it from the point of view of a platoon. It's literally like 'Black Hawk Down,' if there were aliens in there. Like Iraqi war footage, but with aliens running around."
You'd be forgiven, meanwhile, for saying of the second place film, "My, what a big gross you have," as the Brothers Grimm by way of Stephanie Meyer revisionist fairy tale "Red Riding Hood" scared up $5.7 million to claw its way near the top. The Catherine Hardwick directed and Amanda Seyfried starring film may seem to be similar to that little Kristen Stewart movie, but that doesn't mean it's just "Twilight" with a cape, Seyfried told MTV.
"It's a bummer that that's what's happening," Seyfried told us. "I mean, it does surround a girl coming of age in a love triangle, but that's a lot of movies. The truth is, it's an entirely different story."
In third place, last weekend's winner "Rango" managed a very healthy $5.5 million. The Johnny Depp starring flick about a chameleon who finds himself leading a small desert town as sheriff should bring its total to approximately $70 million by weekend's close.
In fourth place, "The Adjustment Bureau" starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt managed a $3.4 million Friday.
The biggest disappointment of the week was "Mars Needs Moms," the newest animated film from Disney. Using motion capture technology and based on a story from Pulitzer Prize winner Berkeley Breathed, the reportedly expensive film managed just $1.8 million Friday and a fifth place finish.
Among other films, "Beastly" scored $1.6 million for a sixth place finish, while "Just Go With It" managed an eighth place finish and $1.2 million. The Adam Sandler led comedy should pass $100 million sometime early next week.
Rounding out the rest of the top ten, "Hall Pass" earned $1.5 million to come in seventh, "The King's Speech" grabbed $1 million to finish ninth, and "Unknown" ran away with $975,000 to land in tenth.