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Puss in Boots Holds Off Tower Heist, Harold and Kumar

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The box office battle for first place… really wasn’t much of a battle. After a disappointing $34 million debut for DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots last week – which was at least partially attributed to opening the movie on Halloween weekend – the Antonio Banderas-starring family film bounced back in a big way, earning $33 million from 259 fewer theaters. The cute-but-dangerous cat dropped only 3% from last weekend, bringing its overall total to a more respectable $75 million, based on estimates.

Tower Heist was widely expected to steal the box office crown this weekend, but the combined star power of Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller wasn’t enough. The $25 million the movie earned this weekend is being called a “disappointment”, though that seems like a respectable number for a good-but-not-great movie in which the funniest person in the movie – Eddie Murphy – destroyed his reputation years ago. The lower-than-expected returns also suggest that even when the plot is about sticking it to The Man, audiences don’t want to be reminded of how much the economy sucks. The movie has some potential to have legs, but I don’t expect word-of-mouth to be exceptionally strong.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas debuted to an estimated $13 million over the weekend, which is lower than the $14.6 million opening weekend for 2008′s Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. And that’s even with the “advantage” of 3D, though we can all agree that 3D is no longer a surefire way to boost box office revenues. In fact, I wonder if the use of 3D hurt this movie. In Seattle, only two theaters were playing it in cheaper 2D; given that it’s no Avatar, its availability was limited unless you wanted to shell out a few extra dollars to see bodily liquids flying at your face.

Nevertheless, the $13 million the raunchy Christmas comedy earned is still a respectable number given the low budget ($20 million) and strong approval rating among fans. Here’s hoping for a fourth Harold & Kumar adventure.

The only other box office story that jumped out to me this weekend was Paranormal Activity 3. It dropped 53% from last weekend to $8.5 million, which is actually much better than I was expected. Given that Halloween season has passed and the film has a rush factor to it, I was looking for more of a 60 to even 70 percent drop. Thank God for quality horror movies!

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Animated Movies, Box Office, Comedies
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