Universal's "Bourne Legacy" ended the reign of "Dark Knight Rises" with a $41.3 million opening weekend at the domestic box office, and gave franchise fans an intriguing question to ponder: Jeremy Renner, Matt Damon, or both?
The super spy tale is the fourth installment in the "Bourne" franchise and the first with Renner replacing Damon as the lead.
The success of the PG-13-rated action thriller "Bourne Legacy" represents a coming out party for Renner as a box-office star. Following his appearance in 2010's "The Hurt Locker," he's been in several blockbusters including "The Avengers," "Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol" and "Thor," but this time he was front and center.
And he could be in for another "Bourne" installment. "Bourne Legacy" didn't match the numbers put up five years ago by "The Bourne Ultimatum," which opened to $69 million and went on to earn $227 million domestically, but it played strongly enough to give Universal some options with the franchise.
Universal could do another with Renner, it could go back to Damon -- who bowed out of the fourth film -- or it could pair the two, a pricey proposition to be sure. "That would be a dream." Universal's head of distribution Nikki Rocco told TheWrap Sunday. "But we're going to consider everything when we look at things going forward."
As expected, "Bourne Legacy" played to older crowds. Sixty-nine percent of the "Bourne Legacy" audience was over 30 years of age, and 52 percent was male. It received a "B" Cinemascore. Universal debuted the film in 3,746 theaters, which means it has a $10,749 per-screen average.
Renner wasn't 'the only one stepping into the spotlight on the $125 million Bourne Legacy." Tony Gilroy, who penned the first three screenplays with his brother Dan, was in the director's chair for the first time since he helmed "Duplicity" in 2009. Newcomers Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton joined "Bourne" alums Albert Finney, Joan Allen and David Strathairn in the cast.
The No. 2 movie was "The Campaign," Warner Bros.' R-rated political comedy starring Will Farrell and Zack Galifianakis. It did better than expected with a $27.4 million weekend.
Galafianakis continued his habit of delivering for Warner Bros. in R-rated comedies. He's starred in the box office hits "Hangover" and 'Hangover 2," and was paired with Robert Downey Jr. in 2010's "Due Date," which made $100 million domestically.
Ferrell hasn't been in a wide release film since "The Other Guys" in 2010. That was a PG-13-rated action comedy with Mark Wahlberg and it made $119 million. He did voice work on "Megamind" but has otherwise steered clear of feature films, where his box office numbers have been uneven.
He followed Sony's "Step Brothers," which made $100 million in 2008, with "Land of the Lost," which took in just $49 million for Universal. "Blades of Glory" made $118 million for DreamWorks in 2007, but he followed that with New Line's "Semi-Pro," which managed just $33 million.
"The Dark Knight Rises" finished third in its fourth week, with a $19.5 million three-day total, raising its overal domestic gross to $390.1 million.
In fourth place was Sony's "Hope Springs," starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a longtime married couple seeking to breathe new life into their relationship. It grossed $15.6 million this weekend and has taken in a total of $20 million since debuting on Wednesday.
That's a strong opening and bodes well for the steady and extended run for "Hope Springs" that Sony is looking for from the older-skewing movie.
The overall box office, while running a little behind the comparable week last year, appears to have shaken off most of the fallout from the Colorado shootings. The Olympics may have taken a toll, particularly on Friday night.