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Video: 'Rango' lassos box office victory

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updated 3/6/2011 3:16:46 PM ET 2011-03-06T20:16:46

"Rango" has lassoed the top spot at the box office.

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Video: Johnny Depp gets animated for 'Rango' (on this page)

The animated Paramount film featuring Johnny Depp as the voice of a Wild West chameleon sheriff rode into town with a $38 million debut, according to studio estimates released Sunday.

"Rango," which was directed by "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise maestro Gore Verbinski, is the first animated feature from Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects studio founded by George Lucas in 1975.

Story: Lizards and light dance in animated 'Rango'

"The draw for audiences was certainly Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, but when you look at the reviews, it was 88 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a level that Pixar operates at," said Don Harris, Paramount's executive vice president for distribution. "This is a film that has a shot at being nominated for Academy Awards this time next year."

Universal's mind-bending thriller "The Adjustment Bureau," starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, debuted in the No. 2 spot with $20 million. CBS Films' fantasy tale "Beastly" with Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens opened at No. 3 with $10.1 million, rounding out the weekend's top three films. It was another down weekend for Hollywood, with grosses coming in less than for the corresponding weekend last year.

"Comparisons to a year ago are tough considering that's when 'Alice in Wonderland' opened with $116.1 million," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian, referring to the Tim Burton film. "We're not even in that realm this year, so this is our second down weekend in a row. We've only had one up weekend at the box office versus a year ago. There's this malaise overtaking the marketplace."

Slideshow: March movies (on this page)

The raunchy Warner Bros. comedy "Hall Pass" stayed committed in its second weekend in the No. 4 position with $9 million. The 3-D animated Walt Disney romance "Gnomeo and Juliet" also kept that loving feeling going in its fourth weekend with $6.9 million in the No. 5 spot, despite an animated showdown against "Rango," which was not released in 3-D.

"The King's Speech," the royal chronicle from the Weinstein Co. that ruled last week's Academy Awards with 12 wins, maintained the No. 7 place this weekend with $6.5 million. Dergarabedian noted that audiences who wanted to see the Oscar front-runner starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush likely rushed to see the film before the Academy Awards telecast.

The weekend's other wide release, Relativity Media's throwback comedy "Take Me Home Tonight" starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris, only took home $3.5 million in the No. 11 spot. The box-office war will heat up with another barrage of movies opening next weekend, which includes the science-fiction saga "Battle: Los Angeles" and fairytale "Red Riding Hood."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Rango," $38 million.
2. "The Adjustment Bureau," $20.9 million.
3. "Beastly," $10.1 million
4. "Hall Pass," $9 million.
5. "Gnomeo and Juliet," $6.9 million.
6. "Unknown," $6.6 million.
7. "The King's Speech," $6.5 million.
8. "Just Go With It," $6.5 million.
9. "I Am Number Four," $5.7 million.
10. "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," $4.3 million.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Animated films take flight

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  1. 'Cars 2'

    In 2011's "Cars 2," Lightning McQueen and his friends from Radiator Springs return, and go on a worldwide tour. (Pixar / Disney/Pixar) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. 'Mars Needs Moms'

    What kid hasn't screamed at his or her parents that they're not wanted? Young Milo regrets saying that when the aliens steal his mother in 2011's "Mars Needs Moms." (ImageMovers) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Rango'

    A sheltered family pet becomes a Wild West lawman in 2011's "Rango." Johnny Depp voices the vocal chameleon. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. 'Gnomeo & Juliet'

    Two garden gnomes, "Gnomeo and Juliet," try to avoid tragedy and find a happy ending to their star-crossed love affair when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors. This 2011 film doesn't have as sad an ending as Shakespeare's version. Thank heavens. (Touchstone Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. 'Toy Story 3'

    Lotso the strawberry-scented teddy bear might be the meanest adversary the "Toy Story" crew have ever faced. He shows up in 2010's "Toy Story 3" when the toys find themselves at daycare, but don't worry, he gets his comeuppance in the end. (Disney/Pixar) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 'Tangled'

    Rapunzel's hair is a character all by itself in 2010's "Tangled," with Mandy Moore voicing the tower-trapped princess and Zachary Levi as daring thief Flynn Rider. (Walt Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. 'Megamind'

    Can a supervillain with a big blue head save the day? That's the hope in 2010's "Megamind." (DreamWorks Animation) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. 'Shrek Forever After'

    In "Shrek Forever After," the big green ogre finds married fatherhood a bit boring, but the alternative really shakes up his universe. This 2010 film ends the popular series. (DreamWorks Animation) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. "Despicable Me"

    Steve Carell moves from "The Office" to cartoonland as Gru, a supervillain with a heart, in 2010's "Despicable Me." (Universal Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. 'Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole'

    In 2010's "Legend of the Guardians," the young owl Soren and his friends soar across the sea to find the Great Tree, home of the legendary Guardians of Ga'Hoole. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. 'How to Train Your Dragon'

    Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, rides Toothless the dragon in 2010's "How to Train Your Dragon." Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, the action comedy tells the story of a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s longstanding tradition of heroic dragon slayers. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs'

    In 2009's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," a scientist tries to solve world hunger only to see things go awry as food falls from the sky in abundance. Anna Faris provides the voice of Sam Sparks, left, and Bill Hader gives voice to Flint Lockwood, right. (Sony Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. 'Astro Boy'

    Young robot Astro Boy gains the strength to embrace his destiny in this 2009 film. (Summit Entertainment) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. 'The Princess and the Frog'

    Disney's first black princess, Tiana, kisses a frog to try and turn him into a prince, but things don't quite work out that way. Anika Noni Rose voices Tiana in this 2009 film. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

    George Clooney provides the voice of the main character in 2009's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," about a family-man fox who plots a giant heist. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. 'A Christmas Carol'

    Comic Jim Carrey takes on the role of miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge in this 2009 retelling of the Charles Dickens tale. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. 'G-Force'

    Guinea pig spies? That's the plot of 2009's "G-Force," which features the voices of Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan and Penelope Cruz as furry secret agents. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. 'Up'

    In 2009's "Up," which won the best animated film Oscar, Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner) ties balloons to his house to go exploring -- but a Wilderness Explorer scout comes along for the ride. (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Anim) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. 'WALL-E'

    The waste-collecting robot known as WALL-E travels into space in this 2008 film, finding a world where humans have everything done for them. Can he save humanity from itself? (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. 'Bolt'

    The canine star of a hit TV show (voiced by John Travolta) is accidentally shipped to New York City and begins a cross-country adventure to get back to his owner, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus), in this 2008 film. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. 'Ratatouille'

    A cooking-obsessed French rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) gets his chance to become a famous chef in this 2008 Oscar winner. (Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Anim) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. 'Cars'

    Race car Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) learns from some small-town vehicles that there's more to life than fame and trophies in this sweet 2008 hit. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. 'Chicken Little'

    In this 2005 film, Chicken Little (voice of Zach Braff) tries to redeem his "sky is falling" reputation, but it's not his fault that things just keep bonking him on the head. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. 'The Incredibles'

    Former superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are just trying to live a normal life in this 2004 Oscar winner, when suddenly, their talents are needed once again. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. 'Finding Nemo'

    When his son Nemo (voice of Alexander Gould) wanders too far from home, it's up to Marlin (Albert Brooks) to find him with some help from some finny friends. The 2003 film took home an Oscar for best animated feature. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. 'Monsters, Inc.'

    In this 2001 film, Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) work at a power company that operates by turning the fears of children into energy. One day, a child (Mary Gibbs) follows Sully back into their world, and he finds that children aren't quite as scary as he imagined. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. 'A Bug's Life'

    Flik (Dave Foley) in 1998's "A Bug's Life" isn't like the other ants. He doesn't want to just stand aside while the grasshoppers, led by the menacing Hopper (Kevin Spacey), take the ants' hard-earned harvest. Flik decides to employ some warriors, but mistakenly enlists a band of flea circus performers to help him join in the fight. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. 'Toy Story'

    A toy cowboy named Woody (Tom Hanks) gets incredibly jealous when his place as top toy in a young boy’s room is usurped by Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a spaceman action figure. The 1995 hit spawned a sequel, “Toy Story 2,” in 1999 and a third film, “Toy Story 3,” is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2010. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. 'The Lion King'

    In 1994's "The Lion King," Simba (Matthew Broderick) mistakenly believes he's responsible for the death of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and retreats into the jungle. Eventually, his friends help him take his place as the new king. (Buena Vista) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. 'Aladdin'

    In the 1992 film, a street urchin named Aladdin (Scott Weinger) falls in love with Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin). When Aladdin finds a magic lamp and unleashes the charismatic genie within (Robin Williams), he wishes to become a prince so he can romance Jasmine and outsmart the evil Jafar (Jonathan Freeman). Eventually, Aladdin grants the genie his freedom and lives happily ever after with Jasmine. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. 'Beauty and the Beast'

    In 1991's "Beauty and the Beast," Belle (Paige O’Hara) strikes up a strange friendship with The Beast (Robby Benson), who's really a prince living under a spell. In the end, this very odd couple finds love -- and transformation. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. 'The Little Mermaid'

    Disney's 1989 "The Little Mermaid" focuses on 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson), who isn’t satisfied with her life under the sea and wants to explore the human world. She eventually falls in love with a human prince and fights to become human herself. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. 'Robin Hood'

    There have been numerous versions of "Robin Hood," but in the 1973 film, he's a crafty fox (voice of Brian Bedford) who steals from the rich and gives to the poor with the help of his pals Friar Tuck (Andy Devine) and Little John (Phil Harris). (Walt Disney Studios) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. 'The Jungle Book'

    "The Jungle Book" from 1967 tells the story of Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman), a boy who’s been raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. '101 Dalmatians'

    The puppies of 1961's "101 Dalmatians" are in trouble. Wicked Cruella de Vil (Betty Lou Gerson) wants their cherished spotted fur, and it is up to the puppies' parents, Pongo (Rod Taylor) and Perdita (Cate Bauer), and some brave farm animals to free the caged canines. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. 'Sleeping Beauty'

    In the 1959 fairy tale film, Princess Aurora (Mary Costa) has been cursed by the evil witch Maleficent (Eleanor Audley). Three good fairies, Flora (Verna Felton), Merryweather (Barbara Luddy) and Fauna (Barbara Jo Allen) vow to protect her. But only the love of Prince Philip (Bill Shirley) can break the spell. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. 'Lady and the Tramp'

    After being snubbed by her owners in favor of a new baby in this 1955 film, sweet cocker spaniel Lady (Barbara Luddy) finds comfort and adventure with a mongrel named Tramp (Larry Roberts). (Walt Disney Productions) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. 'Alice in Wonderland'

    The 1951 film is a far cry from Tim Burton's 2010 3-D extravaganza. Alice (voice of Kathryn Beaumont) is younger and far more innocent here, and her adventures are not quite so frightening -- although the creatures she meets, including the Mad Hatter and March Hare, are still as goofy as ever. () Back to slideshow navigation
  39. 'Bambi'

    Ah yes, the 1942 film that freaked out an entire nation of kids. Innocent fawn Bambi (voice of Hardie Albright) loses his mother to a hunter's bullet, but his animal friends help him survive and thrive. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. 'Dumbo'

    Like "Bambi," 1941's "Dumbo" also had some traumatic mother issues. The big-eared elephant's mother is locked up when she tries to protect her son, but in the end, his big ears help him fly, and the family is reunited. (Walt Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. 'Pinocchio'

    In 1940, "Pinocchio" sees a wooden marionette (voice of Dickie Jones) come to life thanks to a wish granted by the Blue Fairy (Evelyn Venable). Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) is supposed to keep him out of trouble, but good luck with that. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. 'Fantasia'

    Kids expecting a traditional animated movie were no doubt a little startled by 1940's "Fantasia," set to classical music with no dialogue. Its most famous story, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," features Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who oversteps his limits. (Walt Disney Studios) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'

    The famed film was released way back in 1938. You know the story: A jealous and wicked queen (Lucille La Verne) attempts to kill her beautiful stepdaughter (Adriana Caselotti), who seeks refuge with seven dwarves. She's later is put into an everlasting sleep by a poisoned apple until a prince (Harry Stockwell) awakens her with a kiss. (Walt Disney Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Pixar / Disney/Pixar
    Above: Slideshow (43) Disney’s animated films take flight
  2. Film Title: The Adjustment Bureau
    Universal Studios
    Slideshow (17) March movies

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