By Charles Lyons | Thompson on Hollywood October 30, 2011 at 5:11AM
DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots stomped all over weaker rivals In Time and The Rum Diary this weekend, even with topliners Justin Timberlake and Johnny Depp, as Three Musketeers in 3-D and Paranormal Activity 3 both dropped over 60%. Charles Lyons reports on the box office this wintry World Series Halloween weekend.
Newcomer Puss in Boots (80% on the Tomatometer) clawed and kicked its way to the top box-office spot this weekend, with an estimated $34 million, landing it on track to surpass Saw III as the top Halloween weekend opener of all time, but did not pass Megamind's $46 million weekend from last November. Paramount moved up the 3-D release from November 4 to get jump on Thanksgiving holiday openers The Muppets and Happy Feet 2.
Paranormal Activity 3, which scared up $54 million last weekend and spooked the box office from an early fall malaise, plummeted 65% in its second weekend, but still managed $18.5 million and the second place.
More details and Top Ten Box Office Chart are below.
Opening in third, Fox/New Regency's $40 million In Time (36% on the Tomatometer), the futuristic time-is-money thriller from The Truman Show writer Andrew Niccol, starring Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake, was a tad off pace in its freshman weekend. It’s intriguing premise and stars brought Fox a solid but not stellar $12 million. Niccol's 1997's Gattaca scored just $12.5 million worldwide.
That suggests it will fare far better than writer/ director Bruce Robinson’s $50-million The Rum Diary (50% on the Tomatometer), based on the Puerto Rico-set novel by Hunter S. Thompson and featuring Johnny Depp as a 1950s journalist. Despite FilmDistrict's robust marketing campaign, Rum failed to intoxicate with a mere $5 million, about half its expected take. Depp also starred as Thompson in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which yielded just $10.7 million total. Depp did a college promo tour from Berkeley to Austin to Columbia. Rum Diary pulled mostly adults, who gave it a C on CinemaScore; two percent of the audience was under 18; they gave it a B.
All three newcomers had to compete with game seven of the World Series on Friday night, and on Saturday on the East Coast, a nasty eruption of premature snow and sleet. But clear skies on the Eastern seaboard Sunday, and unpredictable viewing habits during Halloween weekends, could spike early box-office estimates.
Still, the $130 million outlaw Puss in Boots charmed under-served families over the Halloween weekend, who were last targeted six weeks ago with Warner Bros’ Dolphin Tale and Disney’s 3-D incarnation of The Lion King. The new franchise spawned by Shrek, starring Antonio Banderas as a swashbuckling cat burglar, purred into 2,827 3-D locations (70% of its total screen count of 3,952) and shows that 3-D Mania has staying power.
Sony’s limited-release newcomer, Anonymous (Tomatometer 45%), directed by Ronald Emmerich, failed to make a name for itself, with a scant $1 million on 265 locations, good for a paltry $3,774 per screen average. The $30-million film’s lackluster opening suggests a lack of interest, at least to the movie-going public (as opposed to academics), in the question it poses: was Shakespeare a fraud? That, coupled with no big-name topliners, proved the film’s early undoing. It will need mighty word-of-mouth (lacking critical support) to build from here.
Paramount placed three of its releases within the top five, with Puss, Paranormal and Footloose, at #1, #2, and #4. On the indie side, Paramount's digital romance Like Crazy, starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones, started off well on four screens.
On foreign soil, Sony and Paramount's move to open Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin overseas --where the Herge comic books are beloved--months ahead of its December stateside release is paying off. The performance capture film opened overseas with an estimated 55.8 million in 19 markets, at number one in all but two.
Top Ten Weekend Box Office Chart
1. Puss in Boots (Paramount/DreamWorks) $34 million at 3,952 theaters, $8,603 theater average. Domestic total: $34 million.
2. Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount) $18.5 million down 65% in its second weekend at 3,329 theaters, $5,557 theater average. Domestic total: $81.3 million.
3. In Time (Fox) $12 million at 3,122 theaters, $3,846 theater average. Domestic total: $12 million.
4. Footloose (Paramount) $5.4 million down 50% in its third weekend at 3,224 theaters, $1,674 theater average. Domestic total: $38.4 million.
5. The Rum Diary (FilmDistrict) $5 million at 2,272 theaters, $2,200 theater average. Domestic total: $5 million.
6. Real Steel (Disney/DreamWorks) $4.7 million down 56.6% in its fourth weekend at 2,914 theaters, $1,614 theater average. Domestic total: $73,860 million.
7. The Three Musketeers (Summit) $3.5 million down 60% in its second weekend at 3,017 theaters, $1,160 theater average. Domestic total: $14.8 million.
8. The Ides of March (Sony) $2.7 million down 44% in its fourth weekend at $1,572 theaters, $1,717 theater average. Domestic total: $33.4 million.
9. Moneyball (Sony) $2.4 million down 40% in its sixth weekend at $1,631 theaters. $1,471 theater average. Domestic total: $67.4 million.
10. Courageous (Sony/Tri) $1.8 million down 28% in its fifth weekend at $1,134 theaters. $1,587 theater average. Domestic total: $27.6 million.