'Rango' Wins Friday Box Office With $9.8 Mil

© Paramount Pictures

Update: "Adjustment Bureau" earns $6.7 million, "Beastly" also gets off to solid start and "Take Me Home Tonight" tanks.

Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' quirky toon Rango -- voiced by Johnny Depp -- topped the Friday box office with an estimated $9.8 million from 3,917 theaters, a somewhat softer-than-expected start for the critically acclaimed film.

Box office observers have readjusted their projections for the family friendly film, and now expect an opening weekend gross of $36 million to $38 million for Rango, versus $38 million to $40 million.

But even at the lower number, Rango should score the best opening gross of 2011 for a non-holiday weekend. Animated films also can have strong legs.

Many of the country's top critics have embraced Gore Verbinski's Rango -- film has an 88% rating on Rottentomatoes.com -- but moviegoers gave the toon a C+ CinemaScore. Paramount insiders say the CinemaScore could reflect the fact that Rango is a notch more sophisticated than most toons, sparking debate among moviegoers.

Universal's The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, placed No. 2 on Friday as it opened in 2,840 theaters. The sci-fi romance thriller grossed an estimated $6.7 million, with box office observers predicting it will open to $18 million to $20 million for the weekend, in line with Universal's expectations.

Adjustment Bureau received a B CinemaScore.

CBS Films' Beastly got off to a better-than-expected start, thanks to young females. The film, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer grossed an estimated $3.5 million from 1,952 theaters to place No. 3.

Beastly, a retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, could hit $10 million for the weekend. It received a B+ CinemaScore.

Relativity Media's R-rated comedy Take Me Home Tonight -- the weekend's fourth new film -- fell flat on its first day, grossing an estimated $1.3 million from 2,003 theaters. Take Me Home, receiving a C CinemaScore, came in No. 10.

The Weinstein Co.'s The King's Speech didn't see much of a bump post-Oscars, falling 13% from the previous Friday to an estimated $1.9 million for a domestic cume fo $119 million. King's Speech placed No. 7 on Friday.