Box Office Results for November 4, 2011

This weekend, in a surprise upset, the animated action comedy Puss in Boots held onto the box office crown thanks to an astonishingly strong hold in the second frame while the competing new comedies Tower Heist and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas debuted in the silver and bronze positions, both performing on the lower end of expectations.

Barely shedding any business from its softer-than-anticipated opening last week, the Shrek spinoff Puss in Boots grossed a stunning $33M this weekend according to studio estimates making for a scant 3% decline.  The low drop was caused by many factors including the opening frame being hurt by snowstorms and Halloween activities, plus strong word-of-mouth that helped the DreamWorks Animation hit pick up lost business now that the pumpkin holiday has passed.  Many, including numerous Wall Street analysts, wrote off the $34.1M debut last week since it was one of the lowest bows ever for the animated giant.  But DreamWorks Animation and distribution partner Paramount are all smiles as the audience is coming now that it is more available.  Puss in Boots averaged a remarkable $8,336 from 3,963 locations and saw its ten-day cume climb to a stellar $75.5M.

The Antonio Banderas-voiced film is now on course to reach at least $160M and could even approach the $200M mark if it can continue to show good legs this month.  Declines are likely to get bigger next week, though.  But still there is Veterans Day on Friday, which is always a potent school holiday plus Thanksgiving coming up to help keep the cat going into December.  Also the next major direct competitor doesn’t debut until November 18 when Warner Bros. rolls out its own 3D animal franchise toon Happy Feet Two3D screens contributed 48% of the weekend gross for Puss in Boots and IMAX 3D helped too.  Overseas, it grossed an additional $15M from just four markets upping the early total to $39M with most major territories yet to open.  International appeal is sizable and the overseas appetite for 3D toons is huge so a robust global tally is likely by year’s end.

Widely expected to debut on top, Universal‘s final release of the year Tower Heist instead opened in second place with an estimated $25.1M finishing the frame on the low end of industry expectations.  Co-produced with Imagine, the PG-13 pic starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy as leaders of a group trying to rob a wealthy criminal’s penthouse averaged a good $7,450 from 3,367 locations.  But the first weekend of November kicks off the busy holiday moviegoing season and big star-driven comedies with broad appeal often show more muscle.  Produced for $85M, Tower Heist also starred Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Judd Hirsch, and Gabourey Sidibe with Brett Ratner and Brian Grazer directing and producing, respectively.

Reviews were mixed but generally upbeat on Tower Heist, but paying customers gave only a CinemaScore grade of B.  Females made up 56% of the audience while 62% were 30 and older.  Stiller and Murphy have both seen larger debuts with their past comedies and combining the two into one film opened the door to growing the upfront fan base for the film.  Tower Heist will now have to hope it can have legs although a mediocre audience grade and a competing mainstream comedy from the always reliable Adam Sandler this Friday (Jack and Jill) will make it tough.

Opening in third place was the second new comedy of the frame – A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas – which collected an estimated $13.1M, which fell a bit below expectations.  The bow was 12% lower than the $14.9M debut of its predecessor Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay from April 2008.  New Line and Mandate averaged a mild $4,544 from 2,875 theaters and with most screens offering the extra dimension, the 3D share of the gross was a very high 95%.  Reviews were good for Christmas but moviegoers were not as impressed as the R-rated film earned a B grade from opening day patrons, according to CinemaScore.  Saturday sales slumped 13% while all other films in the top ten went up by at least 20%.  As expected, young men made up the prime audience with 62% being male and 73% being under 35.

The horror threequel Paranormal Activity 3 fell another 53% to an estimated $8.5M putting Paramount at $95.3M after 17 days of play.  The low budget chiller is now running 24% ahead of its predecessor from last fall.  20th Century Fox and New Regency‘s sci-fi thriller In Time followed with an estimated $7.7M, down 36%, for a $24.2M ten-day total.  The dance remake Footloose remained incredibly strong with its female audience easing a slim 17% to an estimated $4.6M.  Paramount and Spyglass have collected $44.8M to date.

Rounding out the top ten were four winners of the oh-so-prestigious Sexist Man Alive award from People Magazine.  Hugh Jackman‘s leggy robot boxing hit Real Steel dipped a mere 29% in its fifth round for a $78.8M cume for Touchstone and DreamWorks.  The Johnny Depp flop The Rum Diary continued to be ignored by audiences taking in an estimated $3M, down 42%, giving FilmDistrict and GK a puny $10.4M in ten days.  A $15M final seems likely for the rookie distributor, which is now going through a reorganization of its executive ranks.

Ocean’s Eleven pals George Clooney and Brad Pitt followed with estimates of $2M for The Ides of March and $1.9M for Moneyball.  Both Columbia titles held up very well with declines of 29% and 20% respectively and now stand at $36.8M and $70.3M.

There was no shortage of activity in the specialty marketplace as numerous films expanded into new cities hoping to become players in this winter’s awards race.  Paramount Vantage‘s romantic drama Like Crazy widened from four to 16 sites and grossed an estimated $270,000 for a terrific $16,875 in its second weekend of play.  Fox Searchlight‘s Martha Marcy May Marlene expanded from 32 to 98 theaters for an estimated $471,000 and $4,806 average.  Totals stand at $448,000 and $1M, respectively with more markets to come.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $102.3M, which was down a sharp 26% from last year when Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG’s Megamind debuted in the top spot with $46M, and off 1% from 2009 when ImageMovers Digital‘s A Christmas Carol opened at number one with $30.1M.

November 4, 2011 to November 6, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Puss in Boots

  • $33,035,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation SKG (DreamWorks SKG)

2.   Tower Heist

  • $25,084,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal) and Imagine Entertainment

3.   A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

4.   Paranormal Activity 3

  • $8,525,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

5.   In Time

6.   Footloose

  • $4,550,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom) and Spyglass Entertainment

7.   Real Steel

8.   The Rum Diary

  • $2,987,000
  • a FilmDistrict release
  • GK Films

9.   The Ides of March

10. Moneyball

  • $1,900,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)


November 5, 2010 to November 7, 2010 Top Ten



1.   Megamind

  • $46,0170,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation SKG (DreamWorks SKG)

2.   Due Date

  • $32,689,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (TimeWarner)

3.   For Colored Girls

4.   Red

5.   Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

6.   Paranormal Activity 2

  • $7,035,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

7.   Jackass 3D

8.   Secretariat

9.   Hereafter

  • $4,011,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (TimeWarner)

10. The Social Network

  • $3,425,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)


November 6, 2009 to November 8, 2009 Top Ten



1.   A Christmas Carol

  • $30,051,000
  • ImageMovers Digital (Disney)

2.   This is It

  • $13,158,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony)

3.   The Men Who Stare at Goats

4.   The Fourth Kind

5.   Paranormal Activity

  • $8,279,000
  • DreamWorks Pictures (Viacom)

6.   The Box

7.   Couples Retreat

  • $6,129,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBCUniversal)

8.   Law Abiding Citizen

9.   Where the Wild Things Are

  • $4,177,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (TimeWarner)

10. Astro Boy

~ by Matt Whitfield on November 8, 2011.

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