As expected, Paramount's Rango easily took first place this weekend. The computer animated film featuring Johnny Depp opened with $38.08 million, which was towards the lower end of pre-release expectations. That represented the tenth largest debut of all-time for the month of March (without taking into account ticket price inflation) and the largest opening weekend of 2011 to date. Rango opened 13 percent softer than last year's How to Train Your Dragon ($43.73 million) and was at a clear disadvantage without the aid of higher priced 3D tickets that has become commonplace for computer animated fare.
With a reported production budget of $135 million and a sizable marketing campaign on top of that, Rango will obviously need to hold up well going forward. That may be easier said than done given that the film is being widely noted as being less family friendly than most computer animated films. However, after opening with $9.61 million on Friday, Rango was off to a nice start in that area this weekend by registering an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.96 to 1.
Also opening in line with expectations was Universal's The Adjustment Bureau. The PG-13 thriller starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt debuted in second with $21.16 million. That represented the largest start for Damon in a starring role since The Bourne Ultimatum way back in the summer of 2007. It should also be noted that the film did open softer than True Grit ($24.83 million), which featured Damon in a supporting role.
Interestingly, by helping revitalize interest in both the western genre and in Damon, the success of True Grit helped make both Rango and The Adjustment Bureau more sellable this weekend. Like Rango, The Adjustment Bureau held up very nicely as the weekend went on. It opened with $6.73 million on Friday and generated an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.14 to 1.
On the international front, The Adjustment Bureau grossed $10.5 million from 21 foreign markets. That gave the film a worldwide start of $31.7 million this weekend. Key international grosses included $2.4 million in the United Kingdom, $1.9 million in Australia and $1.8 million in Korea.
Beastly took third place with a very solid $9.85 million. The modestly budgeted film starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer opened a bit above its modest pre-release expectations. On the heels of January's The Mechanic, CBS Films has now had two solid performers in a row. Beastly grossed $3.61 million on Friday; giving the film an opening weekend ratio of 2.73 to 1. That is strong for a film aimed at teens, though the film will also face direct competition next weekend when Warner's Red Riding Hood enters the marketplace on Friday. Beastly opened 22 percent stronger than the $8.09 million start of last year's Remember Me.
After last weekend's slightly weaker than expected first place debut, Warner's Hall Pass held up quite nicely this weekend. The R-rated comedy starring Owen Wilson grossed $8.86 million to finish in fourth, which was down three spots and 35 percent from last weekend. The film has grossed $26.85 million through ten days of release, placing it 4 percent behind the pace of last year's Hot Tub Time Machine. Hall Pass will hope to continue to hold up well as we move into Spring Break.
A week after winning Best Picture The King's Speech landed in eighth place with $6.23 million. The film fell 15 percent from last weekend. While that represented the best hold of any wide release this weekend, it was also historically weak for a Best Picture winner the weekend after winning. The King's Speech was the first Best Picture winner still in major release not to experience a post-Oscar bump since A Beautiful Mind back in 2002. With that said, The King's Speech has had a simply tremendous run over the past three months and has now grossed $123.55 million to date.
Coming as no surprise, Take Me Home Tonight was a non-factor at the box office this weekend. The R-rated comedy from Relativity Media opened in eleventh with $3.46 million. That gave the film a per-location average of just $1,730. Relativity has had a tough start thus far as a distributor, but the company will hope to turn the tide later this month when it releases Limitless in theatres on March 18th.