Friday, March 11, 2011

Johnny Depp's 'Rango' Scampers To Top Of Box Office

The animated lizard film took in about $38 million in its debut week in theaters.
By Ryan J. Downey

Photo: Paramount

Johnny Depp is now truly the Lizard King. At least at the box office.

"Rango" was the #1 movie in America over the weekend with an estimated $38 million opening, according to studio estimates. The animated film reteams Depp with his "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski, and also includes the voice talents of Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers"), Timothy Olyphant ("Live Free or Die Hard") and Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"). It's an impressive debut for the reptilian adventure tale, which features Depp as the title character — a chameleon who becomes sheriff of a dusty desert town.

Matt Damon enjoyed his biggest opening as a leading man since 2007's "The Bourne Ultimatum" with the fantastical action/romance "The Adjustment Bureau," which was #2 at the box office with a $20.9 million debut.

"Beastly," the teen-friendly retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," came in third with a $10.1 million opening. Like "I Am Number Four" — which fell to #9 after bringing in $5.7 million, for a three-week $46.4 million total — the movie stars Alex Pettyfer in the lead role. The performance of both movies may not make for the most impressive leading-man track record for the English actor, but with his 21st birthday still ahead of him — next month, in fact — his career certainly has time to recover. "Beastly" co-stars Vanessa Hudgens ("High School Musical"), who will next turn up in Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch."

The biggest bomb over the weekend was "Take Me Home Tonight," which was filmed back in 2007 but has only now made it into theaters. Generally, that's a bad thing from a critical standpoint — if a movie's great, why wait to release it? — and, sure enough, the '80s-set comedy has notched a 30-pecent critical average on Rotten Tomatoes. "Take Me Home Tonight" failed to even crack the top 10, landing at #11 on the box-office chart. It stars Topher Grace ("That '70s Show") and Anna Faris ("Scary Movie") and was directed by Michael Dowse, who is currently in post-production on the hockey comedy "Goon." That flick features Jay Baruchel ("Tropic Thunder"), Liev Schrieber ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine") and Seann William Scott ("Dude, Where's My Car?"), and is slated for release later this year.

Speaking of comedies, "Hall Pass" land at #4 with a $9 million take in its second week of release. The latest raunch fest from the Farrelly brothers ("There's Something About Mary") has earned a total of $27 million since it hit theaters.

Last week's top movie, "Gnomeo and Juliet," was #5 after earning $6.9 million. Executive produced by Elton John — whose music is heard throughout — the animated adventure is a loose retelling of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," starring garden gnomes who come to life when people aren't looking. The Disney kid flick has made close to $84 million in four weeks of wide release. James McAvoy ("Atonement") and Emily Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") voice the title characters, while Patrick Stewart ("X-Men") cameos as the Bard himself and Ozzy Osbourne is heard as well.

"Unknown" was took the #6 spot with a $6.6 million take. It's a thriller with Hitchcock-style undertones marketed toward fans of star Liam Neeson's surprise action hit "Taken," and has made $53.1 million in three weeks.

Academy Awards Best Picture winner "The King's Speech" was #7 with $6.5 million. The movie has made nearly $124 million in just over three months of release, which is outstanding for a low-budget historical drama. "The King's Speech" cost just $15 million to produce. In contrast, the Adam Sandler/ Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy "Just Go With It" — just behind at #8 after earning $6.5 million — has made $88.2 million while costing an estimated $80 million.

Justin Bieber rounded out the top 10 with his 3-D "Never Say Never" documentary, which made $4.3 million over the weekend for an overall haul of $68.8 million.

This weekend's new releases will include "Red Riding Hood," "Battle: Los Angeles" and "Mars Needs Moms."

Check out everything we've got on "Rango," "The Adjustment Bureau," and "Beastly."

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