'Harold & Kumar,' 'Tower' get the boot

Humpty Dumpty, voiced by Zach Galifianakis (from left), Kitty Softpaws, voiced by Salma Hayek, and Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, are shown in a scene from “Puss in Boots.”

HONS

LOS ANGELES -- "Puss in Boots" pounced on "Tower Heist" and "Harold & Kumar" at the box office.

The DreamWorks 3-D animated film, distributed by Paramount Pictures, earned $33 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The PG-rated film centering on the swashbuckling feline voiced by Antonio Banderas from the "Shrek" series surprisingly toppled the weekend's two new releases, bringing its total haul to $75 million.

Universal's PG-13 revenge romp "Tower Heist" starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy palmed $25.1 million in the No. 2 spot, while the Warner Bros. R-rated sequel "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" with John Cho and Kal Penn unwrapped $13 million at No. 3. Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, said family films are tough to beat out.

"From the re-release earlier this fall of 'The Lion King' to 'Dolphin Tale' and now 'Puss in Boots,' it seems that the family audience is the one you can really count on right now," said Dergarabedian. "I think the cavalry is definitely on the way though. We've got 'Immortals' and another 'Twilight' coming up, as well as a bunch of big releases in December."

Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing and consumer products at DreamWorks, said the decision to move up the opening of "Puss in Boots" to last weekend is one reason why the film experienced just a 3-percent drop, the smallest ever for a non-holiday film, ahead of the 10-percent dip for "Twister" during its second weekend of release in 1996.

"To be No. 1 again is really extraordinary," said Globe. "It's really an unparalleled hold driven by our two-weekend release strategy, which was pretty unprecedented in and of itself. That and the amazing word of mouth has given us tremendous momentum into November, which is a better play period for an event-level movie like 'Puss in Boots.' "

Totals were based on estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com.

Final domestic figures will be released Monday.