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Depp leads ‘Rango’ to top of box office

/ 08:07 PM March 08, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Johnny Depp’s “Rango,” an animated tale about a chameleon who becomes sheriff to clean up the town of Dirt, earned $38 million to top North America’s weekend box office, industry data showed Monday.

“Rango,” hailed by critics as clever and eccentric, proved in its debut weekend to be another successful pairing of Depp with director Gore Verbinski, who helmed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.

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Matt Damon’s thriller “The Adjustment Bureau” debuted at number two, taking $21.2 million, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations. It is based on a 1954 short story by Philip K. Dick (“Minority Report” and “Blade Runner”).

Damon’s character challenges his fate, which is closely managed by a team of mysterious men who do all they can to keep him on his predetermined path. Emily Blunt co-stars as Damon’s love interest.

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“Beastly” debuted in the third spot, with $9.9 million, after beastly reviews of the teen romance starring British heartthrob Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) in a modern take on Beauty and the Beast. Critics cited subpar acting and clunky dialogue.

Raunchy comedy “Hall Pass” fell from first to fourth place, taking $8.9 million for the tale of married guys whose wives let them have affairs. It was directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly.

Falling three spots to fifth was “Gnomeo and Juliet,” which made $7.2 million, giving it a four-week total of $84 million. The G-rated animated retelling of Shakespeare’s play features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt.

Liam Neeson’s thriller “Unknown” was sixth with $6.5 million in its third week. The Irishman stars as a botanist who tries to piece together his life after a car crash.

Adam Sandler’s romantic comedy “Just Go With It” was next with $6.4 million in its fourth week, followed by Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech” on $6.2 million, for a total of $123.5 million in 15 weeks.

Teen heartthrobs battled for the bottom slots.

The chiseled-tummied Pettyfer stars in “I Am Number Four,” which was number nine, with $5.7 million in its third week. Pettyfer plays a teenaged alien refugee hiding on Earth from evil invaders who killed his family.

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Shaggy-headed Justin Bieber was next, as his “Never Say Never” concert documentary was tenth with $4.3 million. The Canadian pop star turned 17 on March 1.

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