LOS ANGELES - Calling in the SWAT team proved good business for Hollywood.
Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell's "S.W.A.T.", adapted from the 1970s TV cop show, slapped the cuffs on enough movie-goers to debut as the weekend's top movie with $37 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Another movie with 1970s roots, a remake of the mother-daughter comedy "Freaky Friday," opened in second place with $22.3 million, pushing its total since opening Wednesday to $33.2 million. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan as a squabbling mom and teenage daughter who magically switch bodies.
"What's old is new again, I guess," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "The '70s had a really bad rap for a while ... But stuff always comes back."
Last weekend's top movie, "American Wedding," slipped to third place with $15.1 million, bringing its 10-day total to $64.9 million.
"S.W.A.T." stars Jackson as a veteran special weapons and tactics leader in Los Angeles, who trains a new police team that includes Farrell, LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez.
The movie revolves around the SWAT team's mission to prevent the escape of a crime kingpin, who has offered a $100 million reward to anyone able to spring him from custody.
Jackson, along with the nostalgia factor for those who recall the TV show, helped "S.W.A.T." draw solidly among older crowds, with 45 percent of the audience older than 25.
"The movie's fun and fresh and has a hot cast," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, which released "S.W.A.T." "It's the sort of cast that's really kind of accessible to everyone."
"Freaky Friday" updates the 1976 comedy that starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris. While audiences initially may have viewed "Freaky Friday" as a campy remake, solid reviews and a successful round of sneak-peek early screenings helped build solid buzz on the movie.
"Whatever the attitude going in, people coming out of this movie are absolutely loving it," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney, which released "Freaky Friday."
Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts' romantic comedy "Le Divorce" opened strongly in limited release, taking in $533,000 in 34 theaters. From the filmmaking team of director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, "Le Divorce" follows the romantic misadventures of two American sisters in Paris.
"Le Divorce" expands to wide release over the next few weekends.
The surfing documentary "Step Into Liquid" also opened well, taking in $135,000 at just five theaters in New York City, Los Angeles and Honolulu. The movie will be playing in the top 25 to 30 domestic markets by Aug. 22.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "S.W.A.T.," $37 million.
2. "Freaky Friday," $22.3 million.
3. "American Wedding," $15.1 million.
4. "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," $13.1 million.
5. "Seabiscuit," $11.9 million.
6. "Spy Kids 3-D: Gave Over," $10.1 million.
7. "Bad Boys II," $6 million.
8. "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life," $5.2 million.
9. "Finding Nemo," $2.5 million.
10. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," $1.6 million.