LOS ANGELES -- Movie fans are investing in Michael Douglas and Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," which opened as the No. 1 weekend movie with $19 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The 20th Century Fox release led a crop of so-so to weak newcomers, though the sequel to Douglas and Stone's 1987 hit "Wall Street" did not quite set off a bull market at the box office.
The movie co-stars Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and Josh Brolin in a tale set against the 2008 economic meltdown.
The Warner Bros. animated adventure "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" was No. 2 with a soft opening of $16.3 million.
It finished barely ahead of the $16 million haul for Warner's "The Town," the Ben Affleck heist drama that was the previous weekend's No. 1 release.
"The Town" held up well and raised its 10-day total to $49.1 million, giving it a solid shot at hitting the $100 million mark, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner.
Sony's teen comedy "Easy A," which had been No. 2 a weekend earlier, also held up well with $10.7 million to finish at No. 4.
"Easy A" lifted its 10-day total to $32.8 million.
Disney's mother-daughter comedy "You Again," starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, debuted at No. 5 with an anemic $8.3 million.
Playing in narrower release, the Will Ferrell-produced teen comedy "The Virginity Hit" flopped with just $300,000.
The Sony release about youths aiming to lose their virginity debuted in 700 theaters, averaging a paltry $429 a cinema.
That compared with $5,330 in 3,565 theaters for the "Wall Street" sequel, $4,569 in 3,575 cinemas for "Legend of the Guardians," and $3,257 in 2,548 locations for "You Again."
"Legend of the Guardians," based on Kathryn Lasky's children's books, follows the adventures of young owls searching for mythical winged warriors to help overcome evil forces. The animated family tale comes from director Zack Snyder, known for such violent action flicks as "300" and "Watchmen."
Warner executives had hoped the movie might debut in the $20 million range or a bit higher.
Still, distribution boss Fellman said "Legend of the Guardians" drew a solid family audience that gave the movie high marks.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released today.
1. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," $19 million.
2. "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole," $16.3 million.
3. "The Town," $16 million.
4. "Easy A," $10.7 million.
5. "You Again," $8.3 million.
6. "Devil," $6.5 million.
7. "Resident Evil: Afterlife," $4.9 million.
8. "Alpha and Omega," $4.7 million.
9. "Takers," $1.7 million.
10. "Inception," $1.2 million.