By Sarah Sluis
Despite early Halloween festivities and a Northeast snowstorm, Puss in Boots pounced on the first place spot this weekend with $34 million. The Shrek spinoff didn't have a blockbuster opening weekend, but what it will have is time. Happy Feet Two comes out on Nov. 18, giving Puss in Boots two more weekends to build positive word-of-mouth without competition. 82% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave the movie a "positive" rating, and similar sentiments from families and kids will allow this CG-animated film to hold strong. A drop of more than 30% next week would be unlikely.
By releasing two weeks before Halloween, Paranormal Activity 3 should have had two blockbuster weekends before its horror material became a little less timely. Instead, the sequel fell 65% in its second outing to $18.5 million. That was still enough for the horror picture to land the second place spot, but it's surprising so see such a big drop even when the movie was placed in the traditional "scarefest" slot.
The sci-fi actioner In Time opened in line with expectations with $12 million. The modestly budgeted feature shouldn't have a difficult time making back its investment. Despite pockets of high interest among Hunter S. Thompson fans, The Rum Diary underperformed with a $5 million weekend.
Most titles in the top ten dropped 50-60% except for Courageous. When Christian-themed movies are a hit, they tend to play for a long, long time, and Courageous is no exception. The movie dipped just 27% to add another $1.8 million to its cumulative gross, which is approaching $30 million after a month in release.
At the last minute, Sony slashed Anonymous's release to just 265 screens. Even on so few screens, not many people showed up. The Shakespeare action-drama averaged $3,700 per screen, slightly less than the debut of In Time. Could the movie have sustained that average across thousands of screens? If so, it could have ended up with closer to $10 million, but presumably with higher distribution costs and the chance the movie would be labeled a "flop" and tainted in the home entertainment market.
The Sundance pickup Like Crazy had an impressive $30,000 per-screen average at four locations. Paramount Vantage must have done their job well publicizing this stripped-down romance. Another Sundance selection, Martha Marcy May Marlene, went up 75% from last week. In 32 locations, the cult drama averaged $7,500 per location.
This Friday, the recession-tinged Tower Heist will go up against A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, the third Harold & Kumar movie and the first in three years.