Box office report: 'Puss in Boots' stuns 'Tower Heist' by topping weekend with $33 mil

Puss-In-Boots

Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation LLC

The cat is all right. In a surprise victory, DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots led the box office for the second weekend in a row, grossing an estimated $33 million. That result nearly matched the movie’s $34.1 million debut last week, meaning that Puss dropped only 3 percent — the smallest second-weekend decline of any wide release this year. Families flocked to the PG-rated film on Saturday, resulting in a gargantuan Friday-to-Saturday increase of 94 percent. Clearly parents are hungry for entertainment options that the whole family can enjoy.

Puss‘ incredible hold is also the result of its soft opening last week, which was negatively impacted by an East Coast storm and pre-Halloween festivities. Had Paramount released Puss this weekend, as originally planned, the picture might have had one monster opening instead of two solid weekends. But the studio wanted to give the feline flick an extra week to play before Jack and Jill, Happy Feet Two, The Muppets, Hugo, and Arthur Christmas all invade theaters later this month. In hindsight, it appears to have been a smart move.

The pairing of Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy in the action-comedy Tower Heist generated less interest than anticipated. The $85 million Brett Ratner film opened in second place to $25.1 million, a bit below the $31 million opening Stiller has averaged over his past five films. The PG-13 movie struggled to reel in younger moviegoers, as 62 percent of its audience was at least 30 years old, according to Universal. And the Occupy Wall Street-friendly premise, about a group of hotel employees attempting to steal money from a Bernie Madoff-esque businessman, apparently had little influence on ticket buyers. According to CinemaScore, only 21 percent of moviegoers said they attended Tower Heist because of its subject matter. Overall, CinemaScore graders gave the movie a merely okay “B” rating.

In third, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas also fell a bit short of expectations, earning $13.1 million. That’s a smaller opening than 2008’s Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which debuted to $14.9 million and couldn’t rely on inflated 3-D ticket prices. The new entry in the R-rated stoner comedy series skewed toward men, who represented 62 percent of the audience. It also, predictably, played to a younger crowd, with 73 percent of the audience under the age of 35. According to Warner Bros., 95 percent of Harold & Kumar‘s debut came from 3-D theaters. But 2,550 of the film’s 2,875 locations were screening it in 3-D, so it’s not exactly like audiences had that much of a choice between 3-D and 2-D. CinemaScore participants gave the $19 million movie a “B” grade.

Among holdovers, the horror prequel Paranormal Activity 3 fell 53 percent for $8.5 million, pushing its cumulative tally to $95.3 million. And the sci-fi thriller In Time slipped 36 percent for $7.7 million — it, like Puss in Boots, is making up some ground after a weaker-than-expected debut last week. In limited release, the crime thriller The Son of No One, starring Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, and Katie Holmes, opened to a pitiful $19,800 from 11 theaters. The Sundance romance Like Crazy, on the other hand, continued to perform well, earning $270,000 from 16 locations.

1. Puss in Boots — $33.0 mil
2. Tower Heist — $25.1 mil
3. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas — $13.1 mil
4. Paranormal Activity 3 — $8.5 mil
5. In Time — $7.7 mil

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