This week:

Puss in Boots steals the top spot from Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller; Harold and Kumar have a flat 3D debut and Paranormal Activity 3 continues to scare audiences.

Word of the week: Disappointment.

Puss in Boots led the way at the box office – beating the combined star wattage of Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. The animated film dropped just 10% from last week, grossing an impressive $33 million. The Shrek spin-off now has $76.6 million in the kitty, with more on the way as the holiday season approaches.

$24.6 million is quite a disappointment for director Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist, as the film was expected to steal the top spot. The Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy film has had decent reviews (read ours), but it failed to connect with audiences. The heist caper was a tad behind Stiller’s Little Fockers, which opened to $30 million last year, that threequel went on to gross $148 million, so there is hope that the film will hold-up well over the next few weeks. Ratner hasn’t directed a film since 2007’s Rush Hour 3, which opened to $49 million, on its way to $140 million, and if audiences don’t “discover” Tower Heist then it could be the director’s lowest grossing film after… er After The Sunset.

Tower Heist was seen as something of a comeback for Eddie Murphy, a star who has had many ups and downs over his thirty year career. When Murphy hits big, he’s massive – see Beverly Hills Cop’s $234 million gross (in 1984 dollars!), however when he bombs, he’s nuclear, as can be seen with the $7 million (that’s not a typo) worldwide gross of the $100 million budgeted Pluto Nash in 2002. Tower Heist should find a nice medium.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (read our review) debuted in third place with just $14.5 million, less than the previous 2D installment. It was hoped that the stoner comedy would open to over $16 million, but it failed to break out of its niche market. However, films like this mostly make their money on DVD – the original Harold and Kumar grossed just $18 million in 2004, so there’s a reason why we now have a second sequel. The Christmas theme could help the film have legs, so besting the $38 million final gross of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay isn’t out of the question.

Paranormal Activity 3 dropped to four after bringing in another $8.5 million, giving it a gross of more than $95 million. The $5 million budgeted film has scored over $150 million worldwide.

Justin Timberlake disappointment In Time scored another $7.8 million for a $24.3 million. It’s a pretty decent hold from last weekend’s $12 million start, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Footloose danced away with another $4.8 million, for a $45 million total gross, while Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel punched up an additional $3.5 million. The total of the robot boxing film now stands at just under $79 million, and about $200 million worldwide. It’s not a disaster but it has to be seen as a disappointment as well.

Johnny Depp’s The Rum Diary brought in another $2.9 million for a $10 million cumulative gross. Depp’s last Hunter S. Thompson adaptation Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas topped out at $10 million, so this is something of an achievement. Having said that Fear and Loathing came out in 1998, when Depp was a Hollywood outcast – and it “only” cost $18.5 million, small change compared to Rum Diary’s $45 million price tag.

George Clooney’s screen adaptation of the play Farragut North; The Ides of March banked another $2 million and upped its cume to a smidgen under $37 million. Clooney’s Ocean’s 11 co-star Brad Pitt rounded out the top ten with Moneyball. The baseball film has now banked over $70 million, helped by this weekend’s $1.9 million take.

That’s it for now. See you at the movies.

Source: Deadline