"Puss in Boots" pounced on "Tower Heist" and "Harold & Kumar" at the box office.
The DreamWorks 3-D animated film, distributed by Paramount Pictures, earned $33 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. The PG-rated film centering on the swashbuckling feline voiced by Antonio Banderas from the "Shrek" series surprisingly toppled the weekend's two new releases, bringing its total haul to $75 million.
Universal's PG-13 revenge romp "Tower Heist" starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy palmed $25.1 million in the No. 2 spot, while the Warner Bros. R-rated sequel "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" with John Cho and Kal Penn unwrapped $13 million at No. 3.
Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com, said family films are tough to beat out.
"From the re-release earlier this fall of `The Lion King' to `Dolphin Tale' and now `Puss in Boots,' it seems that the family audience is the one you can really count on right now," said Dergarabedian. "I think the cavalry is definitely on the way though. We've got `Immortals' and another `Twilight' coming up, as well as a bunch of big releases in December."
Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing and consumer products at DreamWorks, said the decision to move up the opening of "Puss in Boots" to last weekend is one reason why the film experienced just a 3-percent drop, the smallest ever for a non-holiday film, ahead of the 10-percent dip for "Twister" during its second weekend of release in 1996.
"To be No. 1 again is really extraordinary," said Globe. "It's really an unparalleled hold driven by our two-weekend release strategy, which was pretty unprecedented in and of itself. That and the amazing word of mouth has given us tremendous momentum into November, which is a better play period for an event-level movie like `Puss in Boots.'"
Another animated film dominated outside of North America. "The Adventures of Tintin," which is being distributed overseas by Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures, scooped up $40.8 million as it grew from 19 to 45 international markets. The 3-D film, directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from the Belgian comic series, opens Dec. 21 in the United States.
The 20th Century Fox sci-fi thriller "In Time" starring Justin Timberlake fell to No. 5 in U.S. after opening at No. 3 last weekend. "In Time" clocked better numbers overseas, earning $16.6 million in 53 markets for a second-place finish behind "The Adventures of Tintin," while "Puss in Boots" scratched out third place with $15 million in five international markets.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Puss in Boots," $33 million. ($15 million international.)
2. "Tower Heist," $25.1 million. ($9.5 million international.)
3. "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," $13 million.
4. "Paranormal Activity 3," $8.5 million. ($14.1 million international.)
5. "In Time," $7.7 million. ($16.6 million international.)
6. "Footloose," $4.5 million.
7. "Real Steel," $3.4 million. ($10.7 million international.)
8. "The Rum Diary," $2.9 million.
9. "The Ides of March," $2 million.
10. "Moneyball," $1.9 million.
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "The Adventures of Tintin," $40.8 million.
2. "In Time," $16.6 million.
3. "Puss in Boots," $15 million.
4. "Paranormal Activity," $14.1 million
5. "Real Steel," $10.7 million.
6. "Tower Heist," $9.5 million.
7. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," $7.5 million.
8. "Johnny English Reborn," $7.3 million.
9. "The Three Musketeers," $5.8 million.
10. "Contagion," $5 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.