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'Valor' successfully battles to top of the box office

NEW YORK (AP) -- On Oscar weekend, the real-life action stars of "Act of Valor" bested Hollywood's pretend heroes.

The Relativity Media action flick, starring real, active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs, topped the weekend box office, earning $24.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was a strong opening for a unique film made in collaboration with the Navy.

"Act of Valor" led another strong weekend at the box office, as it was up 24.4 percent over the corresponding weekend last year.

Lionsgate's "Tyler Perry's Good Deeds," a more dramatic offering for the consistently popular Perry, opened with a healthy $16 million. Its audience was resoundingly female (76 percent) and may have been slightly diminished by the appeal of Denzel Washington in the thriller "Safe House." That earned $11.4 million, bringing its cumulative total to $98.1 million.

The weekend's other new releases -- the thriller "Gone" and the comedy "Wanderlust" -- had weaker debuts. The latter, a comedy with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, earned $6.6 million. "Gone," starring Amanda Seyfried, took in $5 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to

1. "Act of Valor," $24.7 million.

2. "Tyler Perry's Good Deeds," $16 million.

3. "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," $13.5 million.

4. "Safe House," $11.4 million.

5. "The Vow," $10 million.

6. "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," $8.8 million.

7. "This Means War," $8.5 million.

8. "Wanderlust," $6.6 million.

9. "Gone," $5 million.

10. "The Secret World of Arrietty," $4.5 million.


G-20 pins funding to EU

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The G-20 nations are conditioning additional money for the International Monetary Fund on the European Union first increasing its financial stabilization funds to ease concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, officials said Sunday.

Officials participating in a meeting of G-20 nations' finance ministers and central bank heads said an EU decision to add to the estimated $675 million in firewall funds already committed to the effort would be essential before the rest of world considers contributing to the stabilization measures.

"There is broad agreement that the IMF cannot substitute for the absence of a stronger European firewall and that the IMF cannot move forward without more clarity on Europe's own plans," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, adding the U.S. would not be increasing its contribution.


Growth in arms sales slows

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A research group says the sales growth for the world's 100 largest arms producers slowed to 1 percent in 2010 as foreign forces were withdrawing from Iraq.

Comparable arms sales rose by 4 percent in 2009 and more than 10 percent the year before that.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's annual report showed U.S.-based Lockheed Martin remained the biggest arms vendor in 2010, with sales of $35.73 billion, ahead of Britain's BAE Systems and Boeing.


Sun sells 3 million copies

LONDON -- Rupert Murdoch said News Corp.'s first Sunday edition of the Sun sold 3 million copies, topping the circulation of its News of the World predecessor that he closed in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal last July.

Murdoch announced the sales figures on his Twitter page, citing "early reports." The 92-page tabloid newspaper went on sale Sunday for 79 cents, half the price of the News of the World. Murdoch said Feb. 24 he would be "very happy" at a circulation of "substantially" more than 2 million.

The News of the World closed after 168 years as advertisers pulled out following an outcry against reporters who had hacked into mobile phones, including that of a murdered schoolgirl. News Corp. sold all the advertising space for the Sun on Sunday as the furor that surrounded the phone-hacking has died down.

-- Bloomberg News