Box Office Report: Holdover 'Puss in Boots' Wins in Shocking Upset over Brett Ratner's 'Tower Heist'

 

In a dramatic weekend of highs and lows at the domestic box office, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount's Puss in Boots purred its way to a $33 million second weekend--a mere 3 pecent drop from its $34.1 million debut--while Brett Ratner's Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy broad action comedy opened to a disappointing $25.1 million.

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Paramount and DreamWorks Animation had contended that last weekend's freak early storm on the East Coast took business away from Puss in Boots, and they proved to be right, based on the 3D toon's record-breaking hold. The family film scored the tiniest drop ever for a non-holiday title, besting the prevous record holder Twister, which had a second weekend dip of 10 percent.

Paramount said the decision to move up the opening of Puss in Boots by one week, from Nov. 4 to Halloween weekend, paid off in spades, and that the film essentially enjoyed a two-weekend opening. Puss in Boots' 10-day domestic cume is $75.5 million, still slightly behind other recent toons at the same point in time, but DreamWorks Animation hopes to catch up next weekend, which is the Veteran's Day holiday.

"To have a hold at this level is extraordinary," said DreamWorks Animation's Anne Globe.

Heading into the weekend, Tower Heist was widely favored to win, while tracking showed Puss in Boots grossing less than $25 million.

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Tower Heist's underwhelming performance is a blow for Universal and Ratner, although the studio said the pic--also starring Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe--still fell within Universal's expectations for a $25 million to $30 million opening (insiders say Universal needed the heist pic to open to at least $30 million.

The $85 million Tower Heist was produced by Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer and Kim Roth, with Relativity Media putting up some of the financing.

Overseas, Tower Heist opened to a so-so $9.5 million from 23 territories for a worldwide bow of $34.6 million. In the U.S., the pic received a B CinemaScore and skewed older, despite being a broad PG-13 comedy. More than 70% of the audience was over the age of 25, while only 12 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24, and 15 percent, under the age of 18 (that demo gave the film the best grade, an A-). Males made up 56 percent of the audience.

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Universal said Tower Heist was the victim of the overall soft marketplace. This weekend alone, domestic box office revenues were down 25 percent from a year ago.

"The film was impacted by what I believe is a general moviegoing malaise. I think Tower Heist is a terrifc film that was well marketed, and audiences enjoyed their experience, based on exit polls," Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco said.

The film drew an ethnically diverse audience, with Caucasians making up 48 percent, African Americans 21 percent and Hispanics also 21 percent.

New Line and Warner Bros.' A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas also disappointed, debuting to $13.1 million, well behind the $18 million projected by tracking services. However, the R-rated stoner comedy cost only $20 million to produce, so New Line and Warners' exposure is limited. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay opened to $14.9 million.

In the latest pic, Harold and Kumar--played by John Cho and Kal Penn--go in search for the perfect Christmas tree after Kumar destroys the original. The film, also starring Neil Patrick Harris, is packed with 3D gimmicks (think smoke rings) and received a B CinemaScore.

Males made up 62 percent of the audience, while 73 percent of those buying tickets were under the age of 35, and 43 percent under the age of 25.

The good news--95 percent of the revenues for Harold & Kumar came from 3D screens, bucking the recent downturn in 3D attendance.

"They are willing to pay the difference when it counts," Warner Bros. executive vice president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein said.

Twentieth Century Fox's In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, showed a good hold in its second weekend, falling 36 percent to $7.7 million for a cume of $24.2 million. Overseas, the film is doing notable busines, grossing $16.6 million for a 10-day foreign cume of $38 million and worldwide total of $62.2 million. Fox says the sci-fi thriller will hit $90 million internationally.

Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn continued to be the biggest headline at the foreign box office, grossing $40.8 million in its second weekend for a stellar international cume of $125.3 million. Sony and Paramount are partners on the family film, and splitting distribution duties.

Puss in Boots grossed $15 million from four markets for an international total of $39 million--with $35 million coming from Russia, where it is already the No. 4 toon of all time. That puts the movie's worldwide total at $114.5 million.

At the domestic specialty box office, Paramount's Like Crazy scored the top per location average of the weekend, grossing $270,00 from 16 theaters for an average $16,875. The indie film, performing on par with An Education, has grossed $448,000 in its first 10 days.

Fox Searchlight's Martha Macy May Marlene reached $1 million in its third weekend, grossing $471,000 from 98 locations.

And Roadside Attractions' Margin Call has now grossed $2.6 million, coming in No. 16 for the weekend with a gross of $774,000 from 178 locations in its third frame.


Top 10 Domestic Box Office Nov. 4-Nov. 6

Title/Weeks in Release/Studio/Theater Count/Weekend Total/Cume

1. Puss in Boots (2), Paramount/DreamWorks Animation/3,963, $32.1 million, $75.5 million

2. Tower Heist (1), Universal/3,367, $25.1 million

3. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (1), Warner Bros./New Line/2,875, $13.1 million

4. Paranormal Activity 3 (3), Paramount/,3,286, $8.5 million, $95.3 million

5. In Time (2), Fox/New Regency/3,127, $7.7 million, $24.2 million

6. Footloose (4), Paramount/2,41, $4.6 milion, $44.8 million

7. Real Steel (5), Disney/DreamWorks/2,438, /$3.4 million, $78.8 million

8. The Rum Diary (2), FilmDistrict/GK Films/2,292, $3 million, $10.4 million

9. The Ides of March (5) Sony/Cold Creek/1,391, $2 million, $36.8 million

10. Moneyball (7), Sony/1,276, $1.9 million, $70.3 million

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