Tower Heist is undoubtedly the big new release of the weekend, with a starry cast and a huge marketing campaign, but it still may manage to be undone by a cat in a big floppy hat and conquistador boots. Early numbers from the Friday box office have Puss in Boots poised to win the weekend again, netting $7.9 million to Tower Heist's $8.1 million on Friday, but likely to bring in a lot from the kids on Saturday. Estimates at THR put Puss at $27.5 million for the weekend, just edging out Tower Heist's estimated $25 million.

Tower Heist was carefully budgeted to not be too expensive, and at an $85 million budget it's still likely to be profitable. Still, Universal and producer Brian Grazer were apparently hoping for a $30 million opening, and given the names like Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy involved, they had reason to expect it.

The other new release of the weekend, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, also performed worse than expected, making $5.4 million on Friday and estimated for a $14 million weekend. But while Tower Heist is only pretending to be cheap, Harold & Kumar-- like all of the previous movies-- is the real deal, costing only $20 million to produce. Given DVD sales and the stark need for a perennial stoner holiday classic, there's no way Harold & Kumar won't turn out to be a good investment.

Rounding out the Friday top 5 were holdovers Paranormal Activity 3-- which is somehow hanging on even with Halloween past us-- and In Time, which continues to fail to prove that Justin Timberlake is a real movie star. How about you guys-- are you seeing any of these movies/ Are you surprised that Tower Heist opened so low? Or do you see this as just the punishment that Brett Ratner still deserves for X-Men: The Last Stand?

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