Box Office Report: 'Puss in Boots' on Track for Halloween Record $36-$38 Mil

11:20 PM PST 10/28/2011 by Pamela McClintock

The 3D toon will post one of the lower openings for a DreamWorks Animation pic, but is banking on strong legs; Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried's "In Time" doing so-so, while Johnny Depp's "The Rum Diary" all-out slumps.

DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots is dominating the Halloween box office with a Friday gross of $9 million to $9.5 million, putting the 3D toon on course for a record $36 million to $38 million weekend.

The current crownholder for best Halloween weekend opening is Lionsgate's Saw III, which grossed just north of $33 million in 2006.

It's almost unheard of for a family film to open over Halloween, but Paramount and DreamWorks Animation wanted to give Puss in Boots more breathing room before a deluge of Thanksgiving family titles open later in November. The downside, according to Paramount: Puss in Boots could forfeit business in its first weekend since kids could be otherwise occupied.

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That puts pressure on Puss in Boots to have a strong hold next weekend, when it was originally supposed to open, the same frame that DreamWorks Animation's Megamind opened last year to $46 million. Going in Puss in Boots' favor is strong reviews.

Paramount also took the No. 2 spot on Friday with horror pic Paranormal Activity 3, which fell more than 70% on its second Friday to an estimated $7.9 million. The film, already earning nearly $70 million domestically, is on course for a $20 million weekend, and should enjoy a strong Monday because of Halloween.

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Paranormal Activity 3 is besting Justin Timberlake-Amanday Seyfried's new sci-fi thriller In Time, which grossed a soft  $4.9 million on Friday for a $12 million to $13 million weekend. Fox is distributing the $35 million pic, directed by Andrew Niccol, for partner New Regency, which fully financed the film.

The news was all-out glum for Johnny Depp starrer The Rum Diary, which took in less than $2 million on Friday for a projected weekend debut of $6 million or less. FilmDistrict is distributing the movie, which is based on Hunter S. Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel.

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