"Rango" tops another sluggish weekend for movies

Sun Mar 6, 2011 1:34pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Animated family movie "Rango" topped North American box offices with $38 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday, which was at the low-end of expectations as moviegoing remained sluggish at the start of 2011.

"Rango," which features Johnny Depp as the voice of a colorful chameleon trying to bring law and order to a town in the old Wild West, had been estimated to bring in anywhere from $38 million to $42 million by distributor Paramount Pictures.

The movie added another $16 million from international territories, putting it's worldwide debut ticket sales at a total $54 million.

Elsewhere, Matt Damon thriller "The Adjustment Bureau," which like "Rango" was in its debut weekend in theaters, took in $21 million to land in the No. 2 spot in North America. It also opened in several overseas markets where it added another $10.5 million to its weekend haul.

Another newcomer "Beastly," which is a modern, retelling of the classic tale "Beauty and the Beast," took hold of No. 3 with $10.1 million.

Overall, total U.S. and Canadian ticket sales were off a whopping 31 percent from the same weekend one year ago, according to tracker Hollywood.com Box Office.

Back then, the 3D version of Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" was proving to be a smash hit and, similarly, "Shutter Island" and "Avatar" were still generating solid ticket sales.

But the start of 2011 has failed to generate a massive hit, and year-to-date ticket sales are down just over 20 percent while the number of people attending theaters is down about 22 percent, Hollywood.com Box Office reported.   Continued...