Weekend Box Office – RANGO Has Biggest Debut of 2011 with $38 Million; THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU Strong in Second with $20.9 Million

     March 6, 2011

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Paramount did not quite reach the $50 million they were hoping for with their PG toon Rango.  With an estimated $38 million from its 3,917 locations, however, the 2D animated feature did manage to top The Green Hornet to become the biggest debut of 2011 so far.

Title Weekend Total
1 Rango $38,000,000 $38
2 The Adjustment Bureau $20,900,000 $20.9
3 Beastly $10,100,000 $10.1
4 Hall Pass $9,000,000 $27
5 Gnomeo & Juliet $6,900,000 $83.7
6 Unknown $6,620,000 $53.1
7 The King’s Speech $6,501,000 $123.8
8 Just Go With It $6,500,000 $88.2
9 I Am Number Four $5,702,000 $46.4
10 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never $4,325,000 $68.8

Rango-movie-imageAfter weeks of dismal returns the 2011 box office finally has something to celebrate this weekend.  Not only did the number one film wrangle up more than $35 million – a 2011 first – but two of the other four new releases also exceeded expectations in their debut runs.  Naturally we are still far, far below 2010 levels but no one was expecting a 2D animated Western to come close to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, were they?

Rango reteamed Depp with his Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski (and if you didn’t already know it, the film’s promo spots were very helpful in pushing the fact).  An animated Western that promoted itself as being “for grownups too” was not a guaranteed winner, especially with its PG rating and its total lack of 3D effects.  Still, with the year we’ve been having Rango is looking like Christmas and the Resurrection all rolled into one… a true multi-demo hit, in other words.  How much of a hit, in the long run, will depend largely on the film’s legs.  It’s hard to pin down a budget figure for Rango, but let’s assume that it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million.  Throw in heavy marketing costs and Rango will have to stay tall in the saddle to make it to profitable.

adjustment-bureau-movie-image-matt-damon-emily-blunt-03After Rango, we still have plenty of good news to spread around.  Universal’s sci-fi thriller The Adjustment Bureau came in well above the ‘high teens’ that was forecast, taking in an estimated $20.9 million from 2,840 locations.  That is especially good news considering the future of the futuristic PG-13 film looked kind of shaky after it was pulled from the release schedule last July.  Universal apparently acquired The Adjustment Bureau for $62 million.  If word of mouth stays strong, the film should reach that threshold by the time it concludes its run.

CBS Films is “thrilled” with the top three performance of its PG-13 fantasy Beastly.  The modern fairytale exceeded everyone’s expectations by bringing in an estimated $10.1 million from its more-narrow release into 1,952 locations.  Early projections put the Alex Pettyfer vehicle at $8 million for the weekend.  The film carries a reported price tag of just $17 million so it’s all sunshine and champagne for Beastly and CBS this morning.

The news wasn’t quite as good for the week’s fourth new entry.  With an estimated $3.5 million from 2,003 locations, the Rogue/Relativity comedy Take Me Home Tonight just missed the top ten.  Among holdovers, last weekend’s number one Hall Pass had an excellent hold, falling just 33% into fourth place.  Last weekend’s would-be number one title, Gnomeo and Juliet, declined 48% to claim fifth place after four weeks in release. But, once again, the best hold was held by The King’s Speech which fell just 11% this weekend.  That wasn’t quite the post-Oscar bump one might expect, but considering the caliber of that Oscar telecast, a tiny decline is probably the best they could hope for.

Hollywood hopes to keep its box office upswing going next weekend with three new releases:  Battle: Los Angeles has the screen count advantage with more than 3,300 locations set to screen the alien invasion pic. The animated Mars Needs Moms counters with that all-important 3D edge and 3,000 locations and Red Riding Hood has Amanda Seyfried working for it.  Paramount hopes Rango will still be in the mix as well, so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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