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Box Office Dresses As ‘Puss in Boots’ for Halloween Weekend

The shoe fit quite well
for a lovably feisty feline at the box office, as the “Shrek” spinoff Puss in Boots clawed its way to the top
of the box office with an estimated $34 million. The three other
newcomers didn’t fare quite as admirably, with their combined gross totalling
less than DreamWorks’ animated fairytale.

Puss in Boots, which boasted voice actors including Antonio
Banderas as the titular sword-wielding kitty, Selma Hayek, Billy Bob Thorton
and Zack Galifianakis, debuted atop the weekend box office with a softer-than-expected
$34 million start. Although making this the third lowest DreamWorks debut, it was
enough to take the title of highest Halloween debut, swiping the crown from Saw III in 2006. The film added $17 million from three overseas markets including a huge $15-million debut in Russia, so expect
much more overseas. Domestically, with game seven of The World Series and
neighbors giving out candy serving as distractions, expect strong legs into
November as no new family films open until Happy
Feet 2
on Nov. 18.


Tumbling from its mammoth
$52.5 million debut last weekend, Paranormal Activity 3 plunged 65
percent, which was still good enough for a strong $18.5-million second place
finish. Despite landing on Halloween weekend, most audiences had rushed out last
week to see the latest installment of this haunted house franchise. Despite the
drop, “PA3” has already matched the final take of Paranormal Activity 2 (and has taken in $135 million worldwide to
date) and should easily become the highest-grossing entry of the series.

Arriving a tad late in
third was the futuristic actionier In Time, which clocked in at an only
so-so $12 million and a 3,844 per-theater average. The premise was strong, but
weak reviews and the still-burgeoning starpower from lead Justin Timberlake
staved off a powerful start. Budgeted at an estimated $100 million (though this
seems very high from what I saw), the Andrew Niccol-directed thriller will need
strong international grosses to break even, which has begun with $14.5 million
in 35 markets.

The Top Ten

1. Puss in Boots – $34M…$34M (weekend)…
$34.0M (gross)
2. Paranormal
Activity 3 – $18.5M…$81.3M
3. In Time – $12.0M…$12.0M
4. Footloose
– $5.4M…$38.4M
5. The Rum Diary – $5.0M…$5.0M
6. Real
Steel – $4.7M…$73.9M
Three Musketeers – $3.5M…$14.8M
8. The
Ides of March – $2.7M…$$33.5M
9. Moneyball
– $2.4M…$67.4M
10. Courageous
– $1.8M…$27.6M

Edged out by Footloose, which slipped to fourth place,
Johnny Depp’s The Rum Diary tanked in fifth with a disorderly $5 million. Aside
from The Astronaut’s Wife, this was the
lowest wide start for the mega-star (ironically) since his first role in a film
based on Hunter S. Thompson material in 1995’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Mixed reviews, a crowded market and
iffy source material made this a hard sell for even the most loyal Depp fans.

After all posting great
holds last weekend, most of the remaining top ten all sunk rather heavily,
including the leggy Real Steel and
last weekend’s disappointment The Three
. With a debut in just 265 theaters, Rolland Emmerich’s Anonymous
made off with a decent $1 million and 3,774 average. Audiences seemed to
respond positively to the Shakespeare conspiracy flick, so a lengthy stay just
outside of the top ten could result.

Next weekend, trying to
make off with your money is Tower Heist with
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy which slinks its way into over 3,000 screens,
aiming to capitalize on the timeless ensemble heist flick. With its twisted
claws in the Christmas genre, “Harold and Kumar” will test if their inebriated
antics are still popular in 2,800 showings, as the only other wide release on
this first weekend of November.  

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