Battle: Los Angeles

We prefer our invading aliens to be ruthless and genocidal, not animated and funny. That seems to be the box office lesson of the dueling alien-invasion flicks that debuted this weekend, with the marauders of 'Battle: Los Angeles' outselling the Martians of 'Mars Needs Moms' more than five to one.

'Battle' premiered at No. 1 with an estimated $36.0 million. That's at the upper end of what pundits predicted for the Marines-vs.-aliens movie, which made up in firepower what it lacked in starpower. A lot of observers are comparing it to 'District 9,' a sleeper with a similar plot that enjoyed a $37.4 million opening in 2009; but if anything, 'Battle's' debut is even more impressive, since it lacked the positive reviews and advance fanboy buzz of 'District 9,' and since it opened in the dead of winter rather than late in the summer blockbuster season.