Image Credit: Paramount PicturesThe well-reviewed animated Western Rango, starring Johnny Depp as a fish-out-of-water chameleon, led the box office on Friday with $9.8 million, according to early estimates. That puts the quirky PG-rated movie on pace for an opening weekend of about $35 million — a solid figure, but well short of industry expectations ranging from $40 million to $50 million. Last year’s How to Train Your Dragon, also a March release, engulfed $12.1 million its first day en route to a $43.7 million debut. Granted, Dragon benefited from those 3-D surcharges, and Paramount is probably wishing right now that Rango sported an extra dimension, too. (Roger Ebert, on the other hand, is in 2-D heaven). Nevertheless, like Dragon, the $135 million Rango will now depend on strong word-of-mouth, especially since the animated Mars Needs Moms premieres next week, followed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Hop.

Meeting industry predictions, however, was the romantic sci-fi thriller The Adjustment Bureau. The Matt Damon-Emily Blunt movie placed second with $6.7 million, and should finish the weekend with around $19 million. That’ll give Damon his strongest leading-man opening since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. In third was the new fantasy romance Beastly, which collected $3.5 million on Friday. The modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, starring Vanessa Hudgens and I Am Number Four‘s Alex Pettyfer, is heading toward a $9 million (or possibly $10 million) weekend. CBS Films aggressively marketed the PG-13 film to girls aged 11 to 17 years old, and that audience segment is likely what lifted Beastly to its better-than-expected numbers.

The rest of the top five consisted of the comedy holdovers Hall Pass and Just Go With It, which took fourth and fifth place with $2.7 million and $1.9 million, respectively. And debuting in tenth was the ’80s-set comedy Take Me Home Tonight. The long-delayed film, starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris, could only muster $1.3 million on Friday from 2,003 theaters. It’ll finish the weekend with, at most, $4 million. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. Rango — $9.8 mil

2. The Adjustment Bureau — $6.7 mil

3. Beastly — $3.5 mil

4. Hall Pass — $2.7 mil

5. Just Go With It — $1.9 mil