This image released by Universal Pictures shows Paula Patton, left, and Denzel Washington in a scene from “2 Guns.” (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Patti Perret)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “2 Guns” is No. 1 at the weekend box office.
The Universal action film starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg pulled the trigger to capture the top spot with $27.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
“2 Guns” is based on a graphic novel of the same name and features Washington as a DEA agent and Wahlberg 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 No. 2 spot with $21.7 million in its second weekend, bringing the Marvel icon’s total domestic haul to $95 million.
“The Smurfs 2″ launched in the No. 3 position with $18.2 million. While Sony’s kid-friendly computer-generated sequel based on the blue-hued cartoon franchise debuted below expectations in North America, “Smurfs 2″ earned $52.5 million 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 mark at No. 4 after exorcising $13.7 million in its third weekend.
Elsewhere at the box office, Sundance Film Festival favorite “The Spectacular Now” starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley earned $190,000 in four theaters in its debut weekend, while “The Canyons” made just $16,000 at two theaters, though “Canyons” 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” with $2.7 million in 1,086 theaters and director Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” with $2 million in 50 theaters.
“Summer is not just about blockbusters,” said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “It’s also about Woody Allen. It’s about specialized films that challenge the audience — or are just different from the traditional, cookie-cutter, summer-style movie.”
Overall ticket sales this weekend were up more than 15 percent over the same weekend last summer, Dergarabedian said.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. “2 Guns,”$27.4 million.
2. “The Wolverine,” $21.7 million.
3. “The Smurfs 2,” $18.2 million.
4. “The Conjuring,” $13.7 million.
5. “Despicable Me 2,” $10.4 million.
6. “Grown Ups 2,” $8.1 million.
7. “Turbo,” $6.4 million.
8. “Red 2,” $5.6 million.
9. “The Heat,” $4.7 million.
10. “Pacific Rim,” $4.6 million.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.