Box Office Report: 'Puss in Boots' Wins Friday With $9.6 Mil Record Halloween Weekend Opening

The DreamWorks Animation-Paramount toon is headed for a $38 million debut; Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried's "In Time" has a so-so bow, while Johnny Depp's "The Rum Diary" falls flat.

DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots easily topped the Friday box office with $9.6 million after earning an A-CinemaScore and is now projected to take in $38 million for the weekend -- the best gross ever for Halloween weekend.

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The current crownholder is Lionsgate's Saw III, which grossed just north of $33 million in 2006. At the same time, it's one of the lower openings for a recent DreamWorks Animation toon.

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 75% on its second Friday to an estimated $6.5 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 softish $4.3 million on Friday to come in No. 3.

Box office observers expect In Time -- which earned a B- CinemaScore -- to gross $12 million to $13 million over the weekend. Fox is distributing the $35 million pic, directed by Andrew Niccol, for partner New Regency, which fully financed the film.

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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, substantially lower than pre-weekend tracking showed. FilmDistrict is distributing the movie, which is based on Hunter S. Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel.

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