Funny People was not quite funny enough to inspire the US box office to a stellar weekend - the new Judd Apatow comedy/drama, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, was top of the chart with an estimated $23.4m.

That is a lackluster opening given the star power (Sandler’s films have routinely opened in the $30m-$40m range) and the success of Apatow’s more straightforward comedies, like 2007’s Knocked Up (which opened at $30.7m). Crowds may have stayed away because of Funny People’s serious tones, lukewarm reviews or its 140-minute running time.

Funny People can’t use the excuse that comedy isn’t working this summer —Warner’s The Hangover continues to hang around in the Top 10 in its ninth week, now having grossed $255.8m. Also, Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy The Proposal is showing staying power for Buena Vista in its seventh week, making $4.8m this weekend for a new cume of $148.8m.

The other big opener this week was Fox’s family film Aliens In The Attic, which made an unimpressive $7.8m.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince was in second place with $17.7m, for a new cume of $255.5m. The film slipped a further 40% this week after dropping off 61.5% from its first to second weeks; last week’s charttopper G-Force dropped 46% for Buena Vista in its second weekend, taking $17m for a new cume of $66.5m.

Below the top 10, Bruno has slipped to position 16 in its fourth week, with a cume of $59m. Summit’s The Hurt Locker added 285 new screens (for a total of 523) and made $1.9m this weekend, for a new tally of $6.8m. Fox Searchlight’s (500) Days Of Summer is also a growing speciality hit. This weekend it added 181 screens (for a total of 266) and made $2.8m for a new cume of $6.8 in its third week.

Also, foreign-language Oscar winner Departures has now crossed $1m for Here Films and Here Media. The film opened May 29 and is now on 21 screens it took $44,540 this weekend for a new estimated cume of $1.07m. UK-US political satire In The Loop has a strong per-screen average of $8,429 on 35 screens for IFC Films, for a cume of $590,000 in its second weekend. The film will continue to roll out to the top 50 markets in coming weeks.

Overall, the weekend was around $120M, down 20% from last year when The Dark Knight and The Mummy: Tomb Of the Dragon Emperor each had weekend grosses over $40m.

Next weekend things should perk up with GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra launching for Paramount.

Estimated Top 10 North America July 31-August 2, 2009
Film (Dist)/Est wkd gross/Est total to date

1 (-) Funny People (Universal) $23.4m

2 (2) Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros) $17.7m $255.5m

3 (1) G-Force (Buena Vista) $17.1m $66.5m

4 (3) The Ugly Truth (Sony) $13m $54.5m

5 (-) Aliens In The Attic (Fox) $7.8m

6 (4) Orphan (Warner Bros) $7.3m $26.8m

7 (5) Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs (Fox) $5.3m $181.8m

8 (7) The Hangover (Warner Bros/Legendary) $5.1m $255.8m

9 (8) The Proposal (Buena Vista) $4.8m $148.9m

10 (6) Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (Paramount/DreamWorks) $4.6m $388.1m