Box Office Upset: 'Puss in Boots' Challenges Brett Ratner's 'Tower Heist' for No. 1

"Tower Heist"
Universal Pictures

Ben Stiller with Eddie Murphy.

Unless Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy-Matthew Broderick starrer "Tower Heist" gets big late night boost, "Puss in Boots" could pull ahead for the weekend in a surprise upset; "Harold & Kumar's" new film off to soft start.

In a surprise twist, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots is showing a stellar hold in its second weekend, strong enough to challenge Brent Ratner's new broad comedy Tower Heist.

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It's possible Puss in Boots could gross $27 million to $27.5 million for the weekend, while Universal's Tower Heist could top out at $26.5 million to $27 million, instead of the $30 million Universal was hoping for.

The $85 million Universal film has plenty of star power in a cast led by Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick.

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Murphy, whose live-action career has suffered in recent years, should see better numbers than usual. Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe also star in the film, about a group of non-crooks who set out to rob the man who swindled them out of their pensions.

The weekend's other new player, Warner Bros. and New LIne's stoner comedy A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is off to a softish start, and is now looking at a weekend opening of $14 million to $15 million, versus the $18 million the companies were hoping for. Still, the R-rated pic only cost $20 million to produce.