By John Young
Updated March 06, 2011 at 08:30 PM EST

Image Credit: Paramount PicturesThat’ll do, lizard. Paramount’s Rango, the animated Western starring Johnny Depp and directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy), lassoed the year’s biggest three-day opening so far with $38 million, according to studio estimates. That’s a bit less than How to Train Your Dragon‘s $43.7 million debut last March. But that film benefited from 3-D surcharges, while Rango was one of the rare animated films not to be released in 3-D these days. The movie cost $135 million to produce and marked the first animated feature ever designed entirely by the visual-effects house Industrial Light & Magic. Despite stellar reviews, Rango garnered a dispiriting “C+” grade from CinemaScore audiences. Adults, in particular, didn’t enjoy the ride, with those 25 and up rating the movie a “C.” That’s rather odd since the PG-rated movie was stuffed with cinematic references and the kind of offbeat humor best appreciated by grownups.

In second was the romantic sci-fi thriller The Adjustment Bureau, which collected $20.9 million. The Universal release gave Matt Damon his best leading-man opening since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, while costar Emily Blunt, who also voices Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet, now has two movies in the top five. Bureau skewed older, with 73 percent of its audience at least 30 years old, and CinemaScore moviegoers gave the PG-13 film a “B” grade. The fantasy romance Beastly snared third place with $10.1 million. While by no means a stupendous gross, the result is nonetheless a minor victory for CBS Films. The distributor produced the PG-13 film for $17 million and then marketed it almost exclusively to teenage girls. The target audience took the bait, as 78 percent of the audience was female and 47 percent was under the age of 18. The film, a modern-day reinterpretation of Beauty and the Beast starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, received a “B+” from CinemaScore participants.

The week’s other new release, the ’80s-set comedy Take Me Home Tonight, let down Eddie Money fans everywhere. The R-rated film, which was shot way back in 2007, earned just $3.5 million from 2,003 locations — enough for an 11th-place finish. If the estimate holds, that’ll represent the worst debut for a film playing in at least 2,000 theaters since 2009’s Bandslam premiered to $2.2 million.

The Best Picture Oscar-winner The King’s Speech dropped 11 percent for $6.5 million, bringing the historical drama’s cumulative gross to a regal $123.8 million. Check back next week as aliens once again play “Destroy that Landmark” in Battle: Los Angeles. Also being released: The gothic thriller Red Riding Hood and the motion-capture animated film Mars Needs Moms.

1. Rango — $38.0 mil

2. The Adjustment Bureau — $20.9 mil

3. Beastly — $10.1 mil

4. Hall Pass — $9.0 mil

5. Gnomeo & Juliet — $6.9 mil