“Puss in Boots” Fells Foes at Box Office

Popular prequel grosses $34 million

He may only be 2 feet tall, but the swashbuckling, sword-fighting señor with a Spanish accent cannot be stopped.

“Puss in Boots” easily won the box office with $34 million this weekend, as kids and families slurped up the “Shrek” spinoff which tells “the legend” of how the orange tabby from an orphanage claimed his heroic destiny, years before a certain green ogre came on the scene.

Though Halloween is here, the young adventures of Puss (voiced again by Antonio Banderas), Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) drew in far more moviegoers than “Paranormal Activity 3,” which dropped from $54 million to $18.5 million in its second weekend.

The Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried sci-fi thriller “In Time” opened in third with $12 million. Given the brutal realities of present-day box office competition – and the inexorable slide most movies see after their first weekend – you can expect the futuristic flick will have precious little time to make more of an impact.

“Puss in Boots” was originally slated for release Nov. 4 but was moved up a week to Halloween. The result was a #1 showing, and two more weekends to capitalize before an “onslaught of family movies” begins Nov. 18 with “Happy Feet Two,” The Hollywood Reporter said.

"The movie came in close to where we expected, given the holiday weekend," said Anne Globe, DreamWorks Animation’s marketing honcho. "We think we're well positioned to take advantage of the next two weekends."

Kids under 12 and parents combined accounted for 68 percent of the movie’s audience. In addition, 35 percent of those attending “Puss in Boots” were Latino, the Hollywood Reporter said.

“Puss in Boots” also cost $130 million to make, EW.com notes, so the little Zorro-like hero will need to keep parrying his enemies with gusto if the movie is going to cover its budget.

Paramount Pictures, which distributed “Puss in Boots,” had three of the top four movies in theaters this weekend, including “Paranormal Activity 3” and “Footloose,” which placed fourth in its third weekend with $5.4 million.

“Real Steel” was knocked down from No. 2 to No. 6 in its fourth round, taking in $4.7 million.

Johnny Depp’s second Hunter Thompson movie, “The Rum Diary,” opened in fifth with just $5 million. That showing “fell in line with Depp’s other substance abuse picture,” as EW referred to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” which grossed $3.3 million in its opening in 1998 and $10.7 overall.

Selected Reading: Hollywood Reporter, EW, The Associated Press

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