District 9 tops box office, beams up $37M

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

The independent sci-fi action drama District 9 upset bigger studio films by coming in atop the Aug. 14 weekend box office, taking in an estimated $37 million, the Associated Press reported.

The movie—which cost only $30 million to make—features an unknown cast headed by the brilliant Sharlto Copley and marks the feature-film directorial debut of South African-born director Neill Blomkamp, who developed the film from his own short movie. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson produced the film with Blomkamp after their previous collaboration, a movie based on the Halo game series, fell apart.

Here's how the rest of the weekend stacked up, the AP reported:

The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, Paramount's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, slipped to second place with $22.5 million, raising its 10-day total to $98.8 million.

Another sci-fi tale, the Warner Bros. romance The Time Traveler's Wife starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, opened a solid No. 3 with $19.2 million. ...

District 9 and Time Traveler's Wife led a wave of five new wide releases for mid-August, when Hollywood's summer output normally is petering out. The rush continues next weekend with another surge of new releases, led by Quentin Tarantino's World War II saga Inglourious Basterds.

Disney's animated adventure Ponyo from animation master Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away), opened in ninth place with $3.5 million.