The Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy action comedy Tower Heist may have topped the box office on Friday with an estimated $8.2 million, but it will almost certainly lose the weekend to a feline with really huge eyeballs.
Heist, which was directed by Brett Ratner and cost $85 million to produce, fell a bit short of industry predictions. The PG-13 movie is on pace to finish the weekend with about $24 million — a step down from the $31 million opening Stiller has averaged over his past five films. It’ll be interesting to look at Universal’s demographic breakdown tomorrow to see whether, like so many pictures this year, it struggled to attract younger moviegoers. And although it’s impossible to say for sure, Tower Heist‘s Occupy Wall Street-friendly premise — about hotel employees plotting to steal from the millionaire who ruined their pensions — didn’t seem to make the movie any more attractive to ticket buyers.
In second was DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots, which gracefully slipped only 19 percent for $7.7 million on Friday. Thanks to an anticipated Saturday boost from family audiences, the PG-rated animated film should win the weekend with around $30 million, which would represent a very impressive 12 percent decline from last week. Three things are happening here. One, the flick is benefiting from encouraging word of mouth — it received an “A-” rating from CinemaScore participants. Two, parents are starved for family films, and Puss in Boots is still the newest cat in town. And three, the movie was clearly hit hard last weekend due to Halloween festivities, the World Series, and the East Coast blizzard. As a result, it opened to a soft $34.1 million, but is now making up for it.
The weekend’s other new release, the extra-dimensional stoner comedy A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, debuted in third place with $5.4 million. The R-rated movie, which cost $19 million, should conclude the weekend with $14 million — a slight drop from 2008′s Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which opened to $14.9 million.
Among holdovers, Paranormal Activity 3 fell 55 percent for $2.9 million on Friday, while the sci-fi thriller In Time dropped a better-than-expected 44 percent for $2.4 million. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.
1. Tower Heist — $8.2 mil
2. Puss in Boots — $7.7 mil
3. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas — $5.4 mil
4. Paranormal Activity 3 — $2.9 mil
5. In Time — $2.4 mil
Box office preview: Tower Heist to climb past Puss in Boots