According to The Hollywood Reporter, audiences across North America took the bait this weekend in a big way, giving DreamWorks' CG-animated Shark Tale the all-time largest October opening with an estimated $49.1 million from 4,016 theaters. The latest animated tale from the studio, which features the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Renee Zellweger, was the fifth-biggest opening ever for an animated film and was the distributor's second best after Shrek 2.

Warming up the second spot was Buena Vista's Ladder 49, a drama about firefighters starring Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. Ladder 49, helmed by Jay Russell, opened solidly with an estimated $22.8 million.

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It was the all-time biggest October opening for Buena Vista and was a career second best for Travolta after Paramount's Face Off, which grossed $23.4 million. The strong debuts of both Shark Tale and Ladder 49 were in the areas anticipated by prerelease tracking and were a welcome respite for the industry -- especially after the previous three weekends, which were the three lowest-grossing sessions of the year, and a dismal September. In fact, the combined grosses of Shark Tale and Ladder 49 were greater than the sum total of all films last weekend.

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