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Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Knight and Day

Frank Masi/20th Century Fox

Knight and Day, Tom Cruise's so-called comeback team-up with Cameron Diaz, debuted in third place at the weekend box office, with a two-star $20.5 million Friday-Sunday gross, per estimates.

The action thriller was outgunned by the still-towering Toy Story 3 ($59 million) and Adam Sandler's latest Adam Sandler hit, Grown Ups ($41 million).

The bottom line for Cruise?

Performance-wise, Knight and Day actually wasn't a step back. It opened about as big, or not, as Cruise's last movie—and last so-called comeback vehicle—Valkyrie. And that 2008 Nazi thriller, which also got buried in its debut, wound up a moneymaker.

Reputation-wise, though, Knight and Day's a potential killer. It wasn't Valkyrie, with its period setting, its eyepatch and its Nazis. It was a $100 million-plus summer movie with action, explosions and Diaz.

"People had such high expectations for this film," Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, said today.

But Dergarabedian, for one, thinks the expecations were misplaced.

"I just think it's the summer marketplace. It's more about concept than star power," Dergarabedian said. "If you look at recent history, generally, [the biggest hits have] been thematically driven, not star-driven."

Fox, the studio behind the movie, is not waving the white flag—on the concept, the movie, or its under-scrutiny star. "It's a marathon, not a sprint," studio exec Chris Aronson said today. "…I think Tom Cruise is still the guy."

More results:

• On one hand, half of the last 10 Cruise movies have opened in the $20 million range, including the $100 million hits Vanilla Sky, The Last Samurai and Collateral.

• On the other hand, Cruise hasn't had a $100 million domestic hit since 2006's Mission: Impossible III, released in the summer following the actor's infamous Oprah couch jump.

• On the Cameron Diaz scale, Knight and Day did well for a movie that's not part of the Charlie's Angels and Shrek franchises. Since opening Wednesday, the film's grossed $27.8 million overall.

Grown Ups is Sandler's biggest opener since The Longest Yard, and the fourth-biggest of his career, behind the aforementioned 2005 remake, Anger Management and Big Daddy.

• Go figure: The middle-aged-guy comedy played best among kids. Moviegoers age 18 and under graded the movie an A-; oldsters 18 and over awarded it a B.

• After just two weekends, Toy Story 3 ($226.6 million overall) is on the heels of the month-old Shrek Forever After ($229.3 million), and swiftly moving up the list of the Hollywood's Top 100 all-time grossers. As of today, it's in 76th place, per Box Office Mojo.

Jonah Hex ($1.6 million; $9.1 million overall) is immortal! Its second-weekend plunge—ticket sales were down 70 percent from last weekend—puts it on the list of all-time free-fallers. This year, only A Nightmare on Elm Street and Valentine's Day suffered steeper dives, according to Box Office Mojo.

Iron Man 2's Top 10 stay is over after seven big weekends, and a $306.9 million domestic take. The movie that was expected to rule the summer did—at least so far. One failing: It didn't build on its predecessor—at least so far. The orignal Iron Man lasted longer in the Top 10, and grossed more during the run, too.

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Toy Story 3, $59 million
  2. Grown Ups, $41 million
  3. Knight and Day, $20.5 million
  4. The Karate Kid, $15.4 million
  5. The A-Team, $6 million
  6. Get Him to the Greek, $3 million
  7. Shrek Forever After, $2.9 million
  8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, $2.8 million
  9. Killers, $2 million
  10. Jonah Hex, $1.6 million

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