The bloggerati have been salivating all day over the apparently distinct possibility that the under-performing, flopping-around-like-a-flounder-on-the-sand Cowboys & Aliens will come in second for the weekend behind the horribly vile, reprehensible, apocalypse-summoning Smurfs. I’ve been too settled and soothed in Santa Barbara to care, but I know that David Poland‘s Cowboys & Aliens pan is good stuff.

Sunday morning update: Variety‘s Andrew Stewart is reporting that reps for Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens are both estimating $36.2 million for the weekend, “leaving no room for a clear winner until [actuals] are released on Monday.”

Earlier: “According to Universal’s North American box office stats, Cowboys & Aliens opened only #2 Friday with $12.994 million, beaten by the $13.29 million debut of Sony Pictures’ The Smurfs,” Nikki Finke reported about five hours ago. “But Universal is still claiming its Western/scifi mashup should come in #1 for the weekend at $36.78 million, behind the little blue guys toon’s $36.02 million. Or is that only wishful thinking at this point?

Smurfs is really overperforming while Cowboys & Aliens is way behind expectations to the point of tanking.”