These 'Boots' were made for walking -- all over the box office competition. 'Shrek' spinoff 'Puss in Boots' easily won the weekend, not only outpacing two other new wide releases by a wide margin, but also setting a record for the biggest Halloween weekend opening ever.
The fencing feline voiced by Antonio Banderas purred his way to an estimated $34 million opening. That was a lot less than expected, given the popularity of the 'Shrek' franchise, the fanbase the character earned in three previous installments, a boost from 3D surcharges and decent reviews and word-of-mouth. But a World Series whose clinching seventh game was played on Friday night and a Northeastern snowstorm on Saturday threw a wet blanket on predictions that had been in the $40 to $44 million range. Still, if Sunday's estimate holds, 'Puss' will beat the Halloween weekend record of $33.6 million set by the debut of 'Saw III' five years ago.
By opening earlier than initially scheduled (the DreamWorks Animation film was slotted for Nov. 4 before moving up one week), 'Puss' may have dealt a fatal blow to last week's winner, 'Paranormal Activity 3,' which lost a hefty 65 percent of its business in its second weekend. The horror prequel slipped to second place with an estimated $18.5 million -- about $2 million more than 'Paranormal Activity 2' earned in its second weekend, but with a much greater depreciation (65 percent to 59 percent). Like the previous two installments, the movie is earning love-it-or-hate-it response from moviegoers. In two weekends, it's scared up $81.3 million.
Opening in third place was 'In Time' with an estimated $12.0 million. That's not far below the $13 million or so that pundits predicted for the Justin Timberlake/Amanda Seyfried sci-fi thriller. Despite only so-so reviews, distributor 20th Century Fox must be pleased; the film did even better overseas, earning $14.5 million.
In its third week, 'Footloose' stepped down one rung to fourth place. Losing nearly half of last week's business, the dance remake walked off with an estimated $5.4 million, for a total so far of $38.4 million.
Just behind 'Footloose' was 'The Rum Diary,' opening in fifth place with an estimated $5.0 million. Johnny Depp's labor-of-love comedy, based on a semi-autobiographical tale that his friend Hunter S. Thompson left unpublished for nearly 40 years, was expected to open around $6 or $7 million, with its literary eccentricity trumping Depp's usual box office appeal. With a per-screen average of $2,205 on just 2,272 screens, 'Rum' isn't likely to have sturdy legs.
With its release plan scaled back to just 265 screens, the speculative period drama 'Anonymous' opened outside the top 10 and earned an estimated $1.0 million. That's a modest $3,774 per screen; jury is still out on whether the Shakespeare-didn't-write-Shakespeare drama can drum up strong interest once it opens wider. A movie that should have a stronger wide-release future is long-distance romance 'Like Crazy,' which debuted on just four screens but earned a huge $30,000 on each, for an estimated total of $120,000.
The other big box office story this weekend also happened out of sight of the domestic top 10. It was the international opening of 'The Adventures of Tintin.' We won't see the much-anticipated Steven Spielberg motion-capture saga until Christmas, but overseas, it picked up an estimated $55.8 million in 19 countries. By the time it drops down our chimney on Dec. 21, it'll already be a huge international hit.
The full top 10:
1. 'Puss in Boots,' $34.0 million (3,952 screens), new release
2. 'Paranormal Activity 3,' $18.5 million (3,329), $81.3 million total
3. 'In Time,' $12.0 million (3,122), new release
4. 'Footloose,' $5.4 million (3,224) $38.4 million
5. 'The Rum Diary,' $5.0 million (2,272), new release
6. 'Real Steel,' $4.7 million (2,914), $73.9 million
7. 'The Three Musketeers,' $3.5 million (3,017), $14.8 million
8. 'The Ides of March,' $2.7 million (1,572), $33.5 million
9. 'Moneyball,' $2.4 million (1,631), $67.4 million
10. 'Courageous,' $1.8 million (1,134) $27.6 million
[Photos: DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox, FilmDistrict]
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