By John Young
Updated March 13, 2011 at 07:43 PM EDT
Aaron Eckhart | LOSING BATTLE Aaron Eckhart ready to fend off invaders from outer space in Los Angeles
Credit: Richard Cartwright

Aliens went one-for-two this weekend, as Battle: Los Angeles led the box office with an estimated $36 million, while the animated Mars Needs Moms was hardly noticed at all. Sony’s alien-invasion action film Battle: Los Angeles, which follows a pivotal Marine platoon led by Aaron Eckhart, slightly exceeded industry forecasts. The $70 million movie drew a male-heavy crowd, with men representing 68 percent of the audience. The PG-13 film’s ticket-buyers were also older than one might expect, as 55 percent were over the age of 25. So far this year, Hollywood has had a difficult time attracting teenagers and young adults, but that should change once the tentpole-heavy summer season begins in May. Overall, CinemaScore audiences rated Battle a “B.”

The frame’s other new alien picture, Disney’s 3-D animated Mars Needs Moms, will unfortunately be remembered as one of the year’s biggest flops. The motion-capture film, which was produced by Robert Zemeckis and cost a reported $150 million, captured only $6.8 million — enough for fifth place. Families made up 85 percent of the PG film’s audience, and CinemaScore moviegoers gave it a “B” rating. While 3-D screenings contributed to 68 percent of the movie’s opening gross, those surcharges weren’t enough to salvage the expensive production, which suffered from an awkward title, a muddy visual palette, and the fact that the Johnny Depp-starring Rango was released just a week ago. Speaking of Rango, the animated Western snatched second place, dropping a modest 40 percent for $23.1 million. That brings the PG film’s two-week cumulative gross to $68.7 million.

In third was Red Riding Hood, a reinterpretation of the classic fairy tale helmed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. The PG-13 horror film, which cost about $40 million to produce, took a $14.1 million bite out of the box office. Women made up 64 percent of the audience, and CinemaScore moviegoers handed the werewolf flick a mediocre “B-” grade. Fourth place went to the Matt Damon romantic thriller The Adjustment Bureau, which fell 46 percent for $11.5 million.

In limited release, Jane Eyre collected $182,000 from four locations for a per-theater average of $45,500 — the year’s largest so far. The well-reviewed drama, starring Alice in Wonderland‘s Mia Wasikowska, will expand to nine additional markets next week. And the mob drama Kill the Irishman, starring Ray Stevenson and Christopher Walken, whacked $155,000 from five theaters. Check back next week as Hollywood offers another alien in the form of the R-rated comedy Paul, as well as the Bradley Cooper thriller Limitless and the Matthew McConaughey crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer.

1. Battle: Los Angeles — $36.0 mil

2. Rango — $23.1 mil

3. Red Riding Hood — $14.1 mil

4. The Adjustment Bureau — $11.5 mil

5. Mars Needs Moms — $6.8 mil