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OTRC: 'Super 8' tops box office weekend with an estimated $37 million

Ryan Lee, Joel Courtney, Gabriel Basso and Riley Griffiths appear in a still from 'Super 8.' (Paramount Pictures / Francois Duhamel)

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg's sci-fi film "Super 8" beat out the mutants of "X-Men: First Class" for the top spot at the box office over the weekend.

The film, which stars Elle Fanning, Joel Courtney and Kyle Chandler, takes place in a small-town in Ohio in 1979. A group of youngsters witness a train crash while making a zombie movie on their Super 8 camera. Following the crash, disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town.

The movie earned an estimated $37 million in its debut weekend, according to the Associated Press.

"The movie was never conceived to be a blockbuster, tent-pole film opening to $60 or $70 million," Don Harris, head of distribution for Paramount, told the wire service. Paramount Pictures is the distributor of the film.

Last week's box office winner, "X-Men: First Class" was fell to second place. The comic-book inspired prequel to the "X-Men" franchise nabbed an estimated $25 million for its second weekend at the box office. The domestic total for the film's entire two-week run currently stands at $98.9 million.

"The Hangover Part II" is still bringing in crowds. The movie, which is in its third week of release, came in third place with an estimated $18.5 million. The comedy has quickly become the year's top-grossing domestic release with a total box office sum of $216.6 million.

"Kung Fu Panda 2," which features the voice of Angelina Jolie and Jack Black, is holding in theaters. The animated feature earned an estimated $16.6 million over the weekend.

Finishing out the top five is the swashbuckling action sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" with Johnny Depp. The fourth film in the "Pirates" franchise earned an additional $10.9 million to raise its domestic haul to $208.8 million and come in fifth place.

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