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Box office report: 'Puss in Boots' walks all over 'In Time' and 'The Rum Diary' with $34 million debut

Rum Diary Depp Amber

(Peter Mountain)

The box office had to contend with the World Series, a very early snowstorm in the Northeast, and Halloween festivities across the country this weekend, but audiences still managed to make it to the movies! That being said, grosses for new releases Puss in Boots, In Time, and The Rum Diary, weren’t all that strong. Check out how they performed below:

Dreamworks Animation’s Puss in Boots was the top dog cat this weekend, clawing its way to a $34 million debut, 51 percent of which came from 3-D screens, and 7 percent of which was from IMAX theaters.On paper, that number sounds good—and, to be clear, it is by no means a disaster—but the result comes with a Real Steel-ish caveat. Puss in Boots cost $130 million to produce, and it earned Dreamworks’ third-worst debut for a computer animated film, beating only Flushed Away and Antz, which started with $18.8 million and $17.2 million, respectively. The 3-D Shrek-spinoff, cost as much as Dreamworks’ Megamind, which opened in early November 2010, but that film began with $46 million, and it played well through the Thanksgiving season on its way to a $148.4 million total.

Puss in Boots entered theaters a week earlier, but it will need to endure even better than Megamind to earn back its budget. The “A-” CinemaScore grade it earned from audiences should at least make that achievement possible, but considering people are already familiar with the Puss in Boots character, it’s doubtful that the film will attract many uninitiated viewers. We won’t officially know where Puss in Boots is headed until next weekend, when we see how much the snowstorm, the World Series, and Halloween really affected the box office this frame. (My guess is not much—and I’m not just being catty.)

Second place belonged to Paranormal Activity 3, which fell by 65 percent to $18.5 million in its second weekend. The found footage horror sequel has scared up $81.3 million after ten days in theaters, and considering the huge business the film will likely do on Halloween, PA3 is only a day away from passing Paranormal Activity 2’s $84.8 million cume. Not too shabby for a film that cost Paramount only $5 million to make!

Fox’s $40 million Justin Timberlake/Amanda Seyfried thriller In Time underwhelmed with just $12 million in its opening weekend. That debut is less than Timberlake’s last film, Friends with Benefits, which began with $18.6 million on its way to $55.8 million, as well as Seyfried’s recent Red Riding Hood, which debuted with $14 million on its way to $37.6 million.

Ads for In Time failed to effectively communicate the convoluted time-shifting story, and negative reviews likely kept older moviegoers away. Timberlake’s leading man status may not have helped matters too much, either—audiences seem to find him more appealing as part of an ensemble, like in The Social Network and Bad Teacher. Moviegoers issued In Time an unenthusiastic “B-” CinemaScore grade, which may prevent the film from finding the same kind of legs that time-jumping thriller Source Code ($14.8 million opening, $54.7 million total) enjoyed earlier this year.

In its third weekend, dancing remake Footloose fell to fourth place, dropping 48 percent to $5.4 million. The $24 million production has now earned $38.5 million after 17 days in theaters, and it will pass the total of Julianne Hough’s first feature film, Burlesque ($39.4 million), sometime this week.

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Image Credit: Peter Mountain

Johnny Depp’s latest, The Rum Diary, stumbled out of the gate with just $5 million. Pirates of the Caribbean this was not. The disappointing opening fell in line with Depp’s other substance abuse picture, 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which debuted to $3.3 million and earned $10.7 million total. The Rum Diary’s edgy story was always going to be a tough sell, and FilmDistrict’s President of Theatrical Distribution Bob Berney admits: “While we all wish the numbers were better, we’re proud of the film and its loving tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.”

The $50 million picture marks the third straight box office disappointment for FilmDistrict, the young distributor that found success with Insidious ($54 million) earlier this year. The studio has since struggled with both Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($23.9 million) and Drive ($33.7 million so far) recently. Unfortunately for FilmDistrict, audiences, which were 88 percent above the age of 25, gave The Rum Diary a harsh “C” CinemaScore grade, so it’s not likely to hold well in future weeks. Talk about a bad hangover…

In limited release, Sony’s Shakespeare tale Anonymous started with $1 million out of 256 theaters. That was good enough for a $3,774 per theater average, which does not merit huge expansions in the coming weeks. Young romance Like Crazy fared better, grossing $120,000 out of only 4 theaters, resulting in a $30,000 average. Richard Gere’s latest, The Double, was D.O.A., pulling in only $27,545 out of 11 theaters. It’s not likely to platform much further. Zeitgeist-y Wall Street thriller Margin Call continued to play fairly well, grossing $713,000 out of 140 theaters. It has earned $1.5 million so far.

Internationally, The Adventures of Tintin got off to an excellent start. Sony’s motion capture animation grossed $55.8 million out of 19 territories, including $21.5 million in France and $10.7 million in the United Kingdom, where its being distributed by Paramount. Sony is bragging loudly about the film’s performance, perhaps in response to some prognosticators claiming that Tintin is likely to underperform domestically. (The picture is based on a series of comic books by Hergé which were very popular in Europe, but only cult hits in the U.S.) We’ll find out how excited audiences are about Tintin on December 21.

1. Puss in Boots – $34 million
2. Paranormal Activity 3 – $18.5 mil
3. In Time – $12 mil
4. Footloose – $5.4 mil
5. The Rum Diary – $5 mil
6. Real Steel – $4.7 mil
7. The Three Musketeers – $3.5 mil
8. The Ides of March – $2.7 mil
9. Moneyball – $2.4 mil
10. Courageous – $1.8 mil

Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith

Originally posted October 30 2011 — 1:28 PM EDT

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