Johnny Depp and “Rango” open soft; Matt Damon’s “Bureau” adjusts expectations

By Sean O’Connell Johnny Depp’s animated adventure comedy “Rango” was supposed to be the first smash hit of 2011. Buoyed by positive reviews, box-office predictors guessed that “Rango” could top $50 million during its opening weekend. But Friday estimates suggest that goal is a longshot, at best.

Early stats say the Gore Verbinski-directed film had a $10 million dollar night, and will pull in an estimated $37-$40M weekend haul. That’s off of most projections, and has to be a disappointment for a studio picture entering a frame with very little competition for the family dollar. “Rango” also bombarded theaters, opening in nearly 4,000 locations. Perhaps oversaturation was an issue? Or maybe parents were turned off by the PG rating?

News wasn’t grim for Universal’s “The Adjustment Bureau,” however, which grabbed an estimated $7 million on Friday, according to The Wrap, and may end up with a weekend pull of more than $20 million (if date night couple hit the theaters hard on Saturday night).

We’ll have full weekend estimates on Sunday, to see if “Rango” rebounded with string Saturday numbers, or if “Bureau” is adjusted for a larger (or smaller) opening number.

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