Johnny Depp Leads Box Office as Animated Chameleon in ‘Rango’

The Johnny Depp animated comedy “Rango” opened as the No. 1 film in U.S. and Canadian theaters this weekend, generating $38 million in ticket sales for Viacom Inc. (VIA/B)’s Paramount and Nickelodeon divisions.

“The Adjustment Bureau,” starring Matt Damon, opened in second place with $20.9 million for Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s Universal Pictures, researcher Hollywood.com Box Office said today in a statement.

“Rango,” featuring Depp as a chameleon who tries to clean up the Wild West town of Dirt, is the third Paramount film to occupy the top weekend spot this year, following “No Strings Attached” and the remake of “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges. Paramount is No. 1 in U.S. box-office sales this year, with $285 million in revenue as of Feb. 27, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Rango” was expected to take in about $36 million, the forecast of Gitesh Pandya, editor of the Box Office Guru website. The film was directed by Gore Verbinski, who also oversaw Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

The picture cost $135 million to make, according to Sherman Oaks, California-based Box Office Mojo, and also features the voices of Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty and Alfred Molina.

In “The Adjustment Bureau,” Damon plays a politician, David Norris, who gets a glimpse of his future and decides to take another course, instead pursuing his love interest played by Emily Blunt. John Slattery, from TV’s “Mad Men,” is part of the team trying to put Norris’s life back on its intended course. The film is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick.

CBS Corp. (CBS)’s “Beastly,” a retelling of the “Beauty and the Beast” tale, took in $10.1 million in third place. Alex Pettyfer, who is also in theaters in the movie “I Am Number Four,” plays a New York teen who is turned into a monster and must find true love to reverse the curse. Vanessa Hudgens, known for her success in Disney’s “High School Musical,” co-stars as Pettyfer’s love interest and Mary-Kate Olsen is the witch who casts a spell on him.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo in Los Angeles at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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