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World War II drama 'Fury' beats 'Gone Girl' at the box office

The World War II film 'Fury,' which stars Brad Pitt, came in first at the box office this past weekend, grossing $23.5 million, while 'Gone Girl' took in $17.8 million. 'Gone Girl' had topped the box office for two weeks previously.

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'Fury' stars Brad Pitt.

Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures Entertainment/AP

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The bloody World War II drama "Fury" blew past "Gone Girl" at theaters this weekend.

"Gone Girl" was tops at the box office for two weeks before Brad Pitt and his rag-tag group of tank mates in "Fury" blasted the film to second place. Sony's "Fury" captured $23.5 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Fox's "Gone Girl" followed with $17.8 million.

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Monitor film critic Peter Rainer received "Fury" positively, awarding the movie a B+ and calling it "an impressively solid World War II movie... Brad Pitt gives one of his best performances."

The week's top two films are R-rated adult dramas, followed by two PG family films.

"The fall movie season is all about making the transition from PG-13 world of summer to the R-rated, edgier world of the fall and awards season," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.

The animated Fox feature "The Book of Life" opened in third place with $17 million, followed by Disney's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" with $12 million.

"We're now in full adult movie-going season and we'll see a lot more adult-skewing fare," said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson, who added that the colorful "Book of Life" suits any audience.

Another new film rounds out the top five: Relativity's Nicholas Sparks romance "The Best of Me," starring Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden, debuted with $10.2 million.

"Birdman," the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu drama starring Michael Keaton, opened in just four theaters and boasted a per-screen average of $103,750. It opens in additional locations next week.

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Overall box office is up almost 25 percent from the same weekend last year, Dergarabedian said, and the strong fall showing at cinemas is making up for a year-to-date box-office deficit that dropped from 6 percent to 4 percent in the last month.