Adam B. Vary
August 02, 2009 AT 06:03 PM EDT

It was a glass half-full, glass half-empty kind of weekend at the box office for Funny People, writer-director Judd Apatow’s comedic meditation on fame, humor, life, and death. According to figures from Box Office, it opened at the top spot with an estimated $23.4 million, better than Apatow’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin ($21.4 million) — hence, the glass is half full. But that figure is far lower than the debut for Apatow’s Knocked Up ($30.7 million), and it’s the worst opening for a comedy for star Adam Sander since his 2000 turkey Little Nicky — hence, the glass is half empty. Of course, Funny People was billed more as a thoughtful dramedy than a balls-out Sandler laugh-fest, and when matched against the opening frames for Sandler’s serious efforts Reign Over Me, Spanglish, and Punch-Drunk Love, Funny People is far and away the winner — and the glass is half full again. But whether it’s a comedy, drama, or dramedy, Funny People‘s $75 million budget is quite the handful of pretty pennies, and with a shaky “B-” Cinemascore, the film is going to have a hard time overcoming tepid word-of-mouth — and we’re back to the half-empty glass. So let’s just move on, shall we?

The cup of a certain adolescent wizard, meanwhile, definitely runneth over. Thanks to its debut on IMAX (and the premium ticket prices that come with it), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came in second with $17.7 million, a soft 40% drop from last weekend for $255.5 million total. At this rate, the film is well on its way to the upper ranks of the Potter franchise. The guinea pigs of G-Force were right on its heels at third place, nibbling up $17.1 million, a decent 46% drop for a two-week cume of $66.5 million. And Katherine Heigl’s romcom The Ugly Truth took in an additional $13 million, a 53% drop for fourth place and $54.5 million total.

Of the two other wide releases this weekend, at least the sci-fi family comedy Aliens in the Attic — which grossed a meager $7.8 million for fifth place — broke into the top 10. The torture porn flick The Collector collected a grisly $3.6 million and plopped dead at 11th place.

Box office on a whole was down a massive 22% from last year, when The Dark Knight and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor both took in over $40 million, but the specialty market showed some vibrant signs of life. Bona fide indie hit (500) Days of Summer expanded to 266 theaters for $2.7 million, a $10,338 per theater average. And three widely disparate films opened in four theaters each to healthy per theater averages: The quirky romantic comedy Adam ($16,566 per theater), the stylish vampire film Thirst ($13,793 per theater), and the eco-thriller-cum-documentary The Cove ($13,600 per theater).

Finally, a true milestone was reached this weekend by The Hangover. With $5.1 million this weekend for a running total of $255.8 million, the summer’s biggest die hard blockbuster has passed Star Trek and (for a brief moment) Harry Potter 6 as the third highest grossing movie of the year.

Photo Credit: Tracy Bennett

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