Box Office Results for October 28, 2011

This weekend, the animated comedy Puss in Boots debuted at number one over the pre-Halloween frame while other new releases failed to generate much excitement averaging under $4,000 piece.  The overall marketplace got hit hard by a double whammy of game seven of the World Series on Friday, which attracted over 25 million viewers followed by a powerful winter storm hitting the highly populated northeast region of the country on Saturday affecting tens of millions of people with unusually early snowfalls.

With its second top spot debut from a franchise film in as many weeks, Paramount hit number one with the launch of DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek spin-off toon Puss in Boots, which debuted to an estimated $34M.  The figure was one of the lowest debuts for a high-profile 3D toon in recent years and was a far cry from the openings of other DreamWorks Animation titles like last year’s triumvirate of Megamind ($46M), the leggy, critically acclaimed, and Academy Award Nominated How to Train Your Dragon($43.7M), and Shrek Forever After ($70.8M), which was the last installment of this franchise.  Even this year’s earlier non-sequel animated entries like Blue Sky’s 3D Rio and Nickelodeon’s 2D Rango debuted higher with $39.2M and $38.1M, respectively.  The PG-rated cat pic averaged $8,603 from 3,952 theaters including 2,827 offering 3D.

However, all indicators point to Puss in Boots having good legs in the weeks ahead despite the slow start.  Weather and also pre-Halloween activities for kids helped to softened the bow but audiences and critics alike are giving high marks to the product suggesting good buzz will keep it relevant.  Reviews were quite good and an encouraging A- CinemaScore grade bodes well for the weeks ahead.  Studios typically pick the first weekend of November as the time to launch the holiday season’s first high-profile animated entry or kidpic as it’s been for the last ten consecutive years.  In fact, Puss in Boots was originally slated for November 4 but was moved earlier one week to have a longer run before competitors roll in.  Led by the voice of Antonio Banderas, the toon has clear sailing until Warner Bros.Happy Feet Two arrives on November 18.

If estimates hold, Puss in Boots will claim the record for best Halloween weekend opening of all-time.  The milestone is not exactly one that comes with much bragging rights since the holiday falls on a different day each year and its activities often cause distractions that reduce box office activity.  Horror films typically are the ones that excel with the previous top three best debuts for the holiday being recent installments of the Saw franchise.  Studios rarely program big non-horror titles around Halloween.

Puss in Boots skewed more to moms with females making up 59% of the crowd and 55% being 25 and older.  Banderas and co-star Salma Hayek helped to mobilize the Latino-American audience, which accounted for 35% of business spending nearly $12M this weekend.  3D screens including 270 IMAX 3D locations accounted for 51% of the gross giving the film a higher share than recent animated films like Pixar’s Cars 2, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2, and Sony Animation’s The Smurfs.

Overseas, Puss in Boots launched to spectacular results in Russia, which led the three-market debut of $17M this weekend.  $15M came from the increasingly important Russia market making it the second biggest DreamWorks Animation bow ever after Shrek Forever After as well as the third biggest debut of 2011 after Walt Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Paramount and Hasbro’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which were both monster hits there.  With its international cast and setting, Puss in Boots should do robust business overseas where animated films typically perform incredibly well accounting for 70-75% of global box office.

After scoring the best opening ever during the September-October corridor, the horror threequel Paranormal Activity 3 fell sharply in its second frame dropping 65% to an estimated $18.5M.  That gave the $5M production a stellar $81.3M after only ten days of release with Monday’s Halloween holiday likely to deliver another solid day of business since horror films historically draw big audiences during evening shows on the pumpkin holiday.  The Paramount hit has already come close to the $84.8M of the last installment of the lucrative franchise and is headed for a finish in the neighborhood of the $107.9M of the first chapter in the series.  Overseas, Paranormal Activity 3 grossed an estimated $17M boosting the international tally to $54.2M and the global haul to $135.5M with top-tier markets Japan and Germany still to open.  The trilogy as a whole has now grossed a mammoth $507 worldwide plus tons more on DVD and Blu-ray.

Justin Timberlake’s sci-fi thriller In Time opened in third place with a mediocre $12M, according to estimates, averaging a moderate $3,844 from 3,122 theaters.  The PG-13 film about a world in the near future when only the wealthy can afford to buy time to extend their own lifespans played evenly across genders and skewed older with 58% being 25 and up.  Reviews were more on the negative side and moviegoers were not that much more impressed as the 20th Century Fox release got a B- CinemaScore.  Timberlake has been growing his resume in the world of film with supporting turns in Columbia’s The Social Network and Bad Teacher, followed by a lead role in the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits from Screen Gems and Castle Rock, which had a nice late summer run grossing $55.8M.

The dance remake Footloose followed in fourth place with an estimated $5.4M, down 48%, giving Paramount and Spyglass $38.4M after 17 days.  A final gross near $50M seems likely.

Johnny Depp stumbled into fifth place with his new offering The Rum Diary, which bowed to a weak $5M, according to estimates.  Playing in 2,272 locations, the R-rated drama about a New York journalist relocating to Puerto Rico averaged a poor $2,206 per theater.  The older-skewing FilmDistrict release did not wow critics and even ticket buyers were disappointed as a troubling C CinemaScore and a tiny 4% Saturday jump indicated large declines ahead.  The opening for The Rum Diary was reminiscent of the debuts for many of Depp’s quirkier dramas prior to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl vaulting him to the level of the top box office draws in the world.  Those included $6.6M for Artisan’s The Ninth Gate, $4M for New Line’s The Astronaut’s Wife, $3.3M for Universal and Summit’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and $4.6M for New Line’s Don Juan DeMarco.

Two-time chart-topper Real Steel got clobbered in its fourth round falling 57% to an estimated $4.6M boosting Touchstone and DreamWorks’ cume to $73.9M making it the fourth biggest grosser of the fall after Disney Animation’s The Lion King 3D ($93.2M), Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 3, and Warner Bros.’ Contagion ($74.1M), which it will surpass later this week.  Audiences also fled from The Three Musketeers, which tumbled 60% in its second frame to an estimated $3.5M for a dull ten-day tally of $14.8M for Summit and Constantin.  A $20M final may result.

SONY filled up the rest of the spots in the top ten with its fall slate.  George Clooney’s Oscar hopeful The Ides of March grossed an estimated $2.7M, down 44%, for a $33.5M total.  Brad Pitt’s Moneyball 40% to an estimated $3.4M while the Christian-based hit Courageous dipped only 28% to an estimated $1.8M.  Totals now stand at $67.4M and $27.6M.

In limited release, Columbia’s Shakespeare drama Anonymous generated a lukewarm response from American audiences with an estimated $1M debut from only 265 theaters for a lackluster $3,774 average.  The PG-13 film was originally set for a nationwide bow but the studio shifted gears less than two weeks before opening day to a moderate release instead.  Anonymous earned a good A- CinemaScore from those few that did come out to pay to see it, but overall interest domestically had never been high at all.  The audience breakdown was 51% female while 65% was 30 and over.  Reviews were mixed.

Doing well in platform release was the award-winning Sundance drama Like Crazy, which debuted in just four theaters with an estimated $120,000 for a solid $30,000 average.  Reviews were generally good for the PG-13 Paramount Vantage release, which toured a number of film festivals generating buzz before heading into its commercial release.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $90M, which was up 8% from last year when Lionsgate and Twisted PicturesSaw 3D: The Final Chapter debuted in the top spot with $24.2M; and up 16% from 2009 when Columbia Pictures’ This is It opened at number one with $23.2M.

October 28, 2011 to October 30, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Puss in Boots

2.   Paranormal Activity 3

  • $18,530,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

3.   In Time

4.   Footloose

  • $5,400,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom) and Spyglass Entertainment

5.   The Rum Diary

  • $5,011,000
  • a FilmDistrict release
  • GK Films

6.   Real Steel

7.   The Three Musketeers

  • $3,500,000
  • a Summit release
  • Constantin Film

8.   The Ides of March

9.   Moneyball

  • $2,400,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

10. Courageous


October 29, 2010 to October 31, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

2.   Paranormal Activity 2

  • $16,508,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

3.   Red

4.   Jackass 3D

5.   Hereafter

  • $6,422,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

6.   Secretariat

  • $5,006,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney)

7.   The Social Network

  • $4,515,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

8.   Life as We Know It

  • $4,055,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

9.   The Town

  • $1,975,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

10. Conviction


October 30, 2009 to November 1, 2009 Top Ten



1.   This is It

  • $23,234,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

2.   Paranormal Activity

  • $16,387,000
  • DreamWorks Pictures (Viacom)

3.   Law Abiding Citizen

4.   Couples Retreat

5.   Where the Wild Things Are

  • $5,931,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Time Warner)

6.   Saw VI

  • $5,271,000
  • a Lionsgate release (Lions Gate Entertainment)
  • Twisted Pictures

7.   Astro Boy

8.   The Stepfather

  • $3,208,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony)

9.   Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

  • $3,098,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal)

10. Amelia

~ by Matt Whitfield on November 1, 2011.

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