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‘Funny People’ Tops Slow Weekend

Funny People coasted to the top of the box office this weekend, but few in Hollywood are laughing at flailing ticket sales of late.

The Judd Apatow comedy took in $23.4 million, according to studio estimates from Nielsen EDI. The film, which earned strong reviews and features big-name talent including Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, had been expected to earn at least $30 million.

But Universal Pictures distribution chief Nikki Rocco says Funny People's numbers were strong, given the adult tenor of the comedy.

"We're dealing with a film that has Judd evolving in his filmmaking and Adam in a role a bit out of his norm. Some people may have thought it would play as a Pineapple Express-type broad comedy, but we were clear what kind of movie this was. We're thrilled."

It was enough to beat an anemic crop of newcomers on the fourth straight decline in weekend ticket sales. Though overall ticket sales remain above 2008's pace, summer movie attendance is off 4% from last year, according to Media By Numbers.

"It's nothing to be panicked about, but summer has lost some of the momentum we had going into the season," says Media By Numbers' Paul Dergarabedian.

Of course, at this time last year, The Dark Knight was chugging past $400 million - and leading summer to record revenue.

"Given how huge that movie was, we're doing OK this year," Dergarabedian says.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was second with $17.7 million. After three weeks in theaters, the film has earned $255.5 million.

The 3-D family film G-Force dropped 46% from its debut to take third with $17 million. It has taken in $66.5 million in 10 days.

Katherine Heigl's romantic comedy The Ugly Truth was fourth with $13 million, which lifts its 10-day total to $54.5 million.

The family comedy Aliens in the Attic was fifth with $7.8 million, about $4 million less than analysts projected.

The only other major newcomer, the low-budget horror film The Collector, was 11th with $3.6 million.

Ticket sales tumbled 23% from last weekend and 25% from the same weekend last year.

Final figures are due today.

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