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'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' is weekend winner

'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' brought in $19 million this weekend. It edged ahead of the children's 3-D fantasy film 'Legend of the Guardians,' but Guardians may have longer legs.

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"Legend of the Guardians" was a riskier investment since the animated film cost $100 million to make before Australian subsidies brought the tab down to $80 million. Domestic distributor Warner Bros. pictures partnered on the project with Australian media firm Village Roadshow Ltd.
Warner Bros. had been hoping for an opening in the $18 million to $20 million range, said Dan Fellman, the president of domestic distribution at the Time Warner Inc unit.

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But he was heartened by good exit polls, and an A-minus rating from audience-survey firm Cinemascore, indicating that word-of-mouth would sustain business in the coming weeks.

"If it had lousy exits and a B-minus, I wouldn't feel the same way," Fellman said. ("Wall Street" received a B-minus, and "You Again" a B-plus.)

The film, directed by Zack Snyder of "300" fame, was based on a children's book series revolving around a heroic young owl, and viewed as the first release in a movie franchise. The voice cast includes Helen Mirren, Anthony LaPaglia and Sam Neill.

"You Again," from Walt Disney Co's Touchstone Pictures label, came in at the lower end of the studio's modest forecasts, said domestic distribution president Chuck Viane. But he also hoped the film would find support in the next few weeks. Kristen Bell stars as a woman who learns that her brother's bride was her worst enemy in high school.

"The Town" is shaping up to be the first big hit of the fall after its earnings dipped just 33 percent from last week. Movies generally suffer drops of about 50 percent. The 10-day tally for the Warner Bros. release stands at $49.1 million.

"Easy A" also enjoyed a mild drop of 40 percent as its 10-day score rose to $32.8 million. The low-budget film was released by Screen Gems, a unit of Sony Corp.

Screen Gems' "Resident Evil: Afterlife" was the top film overseas for a third weekend after earning $24 million. Its total stands at $151 million. The Milla Jovovich zombie sequel fell three places to No. 7 in North America after earning $4.9 million, taking its domestic haul to $52 million.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Paul Simao and Mohammad Zargham)