LOS ANGELES – Boxing robots are the undisputed champions at the weekend box office.
Hugh Jackman's "Real Steel," set in a near-future when robot fighters have replaced humans in the ring, debuted at No. 1 with $27.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
A DreamWorks release distributed by Disney, "Real Steel" added $22.1 million in 19 overseas markets for a worldwide total of $49.4 million. The movie casts Jackman as a former boxer reluctantly thrown together with his young son as they turn a junkyard robot into a world-class contender.
George Clooney's political saga "The Ides of March" was the runner-up, opening at No. 2 with $10.4 million. The Sony release stars Ryan Gosling as an aide to a presidential candidate (Clooney) caught up in scandal. Clooney also directed.
The previous No. 1 movie, the Warner Bros. family film "Dolphin Tale," slipped to No. 3 with $9.2 million, raising its domestic total to $49.1 million.
Males accounted for two-thirds of the audience for "Real Steel," though Jackman's sex appeal and a romantic subplot involving co-star Evangeline Lilly was a draw for women, said Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution. The movie brought in a solid mix of couples and parents with children, he said.
"The men might have been more attracted to this idea of boxing robots and the Rock `Em Sock `Em part of it. For women, it was more Hugh and the Hugh and Evangeline angle," Holis said. "For families, it's this father-son story and the somewhat redemptive rise to glory toward the end."
1. "Real Steel," $22.1 million.
2. "Johnny English Reborn," $21.3 million.
3. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," $7.8 million.
4 (tie). "The Lion King," $7.3 million.
4 (tie). "The Smurfs," $7.3 million.
6. "Friends with Benefits," $5.2 million.
7. "Crazy, Stupid, Love," $5.1 million.
8. "Abduction," $4 million.
9. "Final Destination 5," $3.7 million.
10. "What's Your Number?", $2.8 million.