An unfunny thing happened to Eddie Murphy's comeback: a No. 2 opening, as Tower Heist, the star's attempted return to 1980s form, finished in the weekend box-office standings behind the surprisingly tenacious Puss in Boots.
But there was good news in the not-great news.
For the Oscars, anyway.
According to exit-polling data, Murphy, the Academy Awards' incoming host, still has a way with the show's most important viewers: women.
Fifty-six percent of Tower Heist's opening-weekend ticket-buyers was female. Also, more than 60 percent of all its moviegoers were over the age of 30, which maybe wasn't great news for Tower Heist, but could be more good news for the grownup-driven Oscars.
Then again, it could be Murphy's costar Ben Stiller is the one who's the cougar magnet…
Puss in Boots, meanwhile, proved timing is everything. Last weekend, it grossed about $34 million, and looked like an underperformer. This weekend, it grossed about the same, and, because movies just don't do things like that, it looked like a superstar.
Overall, Hollywood could've used a few more superstars as holiday-movie season kicked off. Ticket sales for the top movies were down a whopping 24 percent from the same, Megamind-led weekend last year, Exhibitor Relations said.
Per usual, 3D was not much help. The priciest Harold & Kumar movie ever, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, wasn't even the top-opening Harold & Kumar movie ever.
Another 3D non-event, Orlando Bloom's The Three Musketeers, dropped out of the Top 10 after only a two-week stay. The $90 million epic was a flop in these parts, having grossed less than $20 million domestically.
A few bright spots: Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin moved past the $125 million mark internationally; Hugh Jackman's Real Steel broke $200 million worldwide; and the love story Like Crazy continued to sell tickets like crazy, averaging $16,875 at 16 theaters.
Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, as compiled from the studios' domestic estimates and Exhibitor Relations stats:
(Originally published Nov. 6, 2011, at 9:47 a.m. PT)