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Box Office: 'Wall Street 2' Yields $19M, Stone's Best Opening

"Legend of the Guardians" disappoints with $16.3 million, while "The Town" holds strong with $16 million

Public opinion of stock traders and brokers may be at an all-time low, but that didn't stop Gordon Gekko.

Returning to scene of the economic meltdown and their 1987 Oscar-winning film “Wall Street” made sound business sense for both Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas: The $19 million “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” rang up over the weekend represents the best ever opening for a Stone film and the highest debut for a film with Douglas’ name above the title. Still, pre-release tracking had “Wall Street 2” breaching the $20 million mark, so the opening wasn't as robust as had been expected.

"It's an interesting rarity in cinema that a 20-year-old character gets a great second act," Fox Executive Vice President of Distribution Chris Aronson told TheWrap.

Here's the top 10 at the domestic box office (report continues below):

The $55 million Fox film debuted in 3,565 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Like “The Color of Money” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” -- two sequels that hit screens decades after their predecessors -- “Wall Street” paired the old guy with a youthful foil. The move to play Douglas off of Shia LaBeouf seemed to broaden the audience for the film and helped bridge the 23 years that had passed since the first movie debuted.

"The subject of the movie is clearly timely, but Oliver crafted a story that is not purely about the financial world. It's a personal story as well," Aronson added.

Warner Brothers’ family-oriented “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole” banked $16.3 million over the weekend in 3,575 theaters, according to studio estimates. Co-financed by Warner and Village Roadshow at a cost of $80 million, “Legend of the Guardians” picked up steam over the day Saturday when kids were out of school, but missed pre-release projections that had pegged it grossing between $18 and $20 million.

The 3D computer animated film was directed by Zack Snyder, who is best known for the gory comic adaptation “The Watchmen,” and “Guardians'” dark tone and violence may have scared some families off.

"It was  an issue with critics and that might have effected people going in," Warner Bros. Distribution President Dan Fellman told TheWrap. "But it played well and there's a lack of family product on the market, so we can stretch this out."

Also debuting, Disney's "You Again" grossed $8.3 million -- on the soft side of tracking which had predicted a $10 million take for the weekend. The revenge comedy hoped to capture the female audience and cash in on  the recent surge of affection for frosty haired "Golden Girl" Betty White, who co-stars. Made for just under $20 million,  "You Again" debuted in 2,548 theaters.

"We have some decent word of mouth, so I think we have a single with the strong possibility of becoming a double," Disney Theatrical Distribution Chief Chuck Viane told TheWrap.

In many respects holdovers gave studios more to crow about than some of the big-name premieres. To that end, Ben Affleck’s “The Town” continued to impress in its second week of release. The violent heist drama made off with $16 million in 2,885 theaters. That represents just a 33 percent drop for the Warner Bros. film.

Like "The Town," Sony's "Easy A" showed sturdy box office legs in its sophomore weekend. The teen comedy made $10.7 million in 2,856 locations, down 40 percent from last week's debut. 

Overall the box office for the weekend was up 6 percent from the same period last year when "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" dominated the charts.