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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
7.The 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 Musketeers. 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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