Another so-so week at the North American box office could not stop Universal’s family comedy Hop starring the voice of Russell Brand from bouncing its way past expectations to a huge debut. The CGI-comedy easily beat out the other two wide debuts this weekend, the sci-fi thriller Source Code and horror flick Insidious. Both the top five and top ten posted gains over last week’s numbers but lagged a hefty 33% behind the same period last year at this time when Warner’s remake of Clash of the Titans opened with $61 million.
With Easter a few weeks away, what better time to release a family flick featuring talking rabbits and chicks? Universal thought the timing was right and released Hop on 3,579 screens for a potent $38.1 million and a great per-screen average of $10, 650. Directed by Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks) and starring James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins along with Brand’s voice talents, the comedy not only hit it off with the intended family audience but also people just looking for a lighthearted laugh or two to end their week with. Reviews were less than kind for Hop with the film earning a weak 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Just like Hill’s Chipmunks flick, Hop is hardly the type of film that few stop to check or care what film journalists have to say about it. If the estimates hold, the movie will claim the biggest opening so far this year, something that Universal hasn’t been able to do in almost three and a half months.
In second place with an estimated $15 million in sales from 2,961 screens was the Summit science-fiction thriller Source Code. Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga, the film benefitted from extensive countrywide pre-release screenings and received a strong 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Combine the critical huzzahs with the potential positive word-of-mouth from ticket buyers and Source Code could turn into a solid sleeper hit.
In third place with a $13.4 million estimated opening was the latest horror film from Saw director James Wan, Insidious. Released by indie FilmDistrict (their first studio release according to Box Office Mojo), the film stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as a couple who begin to experience some unusual happenings after tragedy strikes their youngest child. The film received a 60% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so-so for most movies but actually quite good for the horror film genre. The $5,605 per screen average for the indie production was the second biggest in the top ten.
Hop kicked last week’s box office champ Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules to the curb as the Fox film did a 57% freefall in its second round to land in fourth place. Earning $10.2 million from 3,169 screens, the wimp and his pals have earned a respectable $38.5 million in ten days. The film should earn between $55-60 million which would put it on par with the 2010 original’s $61 million final tally.
Two popular thrillers with the adult crowd occupied the fifth and sixth spots, each posting strong holds in the process. Relativity’s Limitless kept using its box office brain to earn steady income in its third weekend. The Bradley Cooper-starrer eased 37% to earn $9.4 million this weekend for a new to-date total of $55.6 million. The film should reach the $80-90 million mark by the end of its run. In sixth place was Lionsgate’s popular legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer with the smallest drop in the top ten (34%) to earn an estimated $7 million. Its 17-day total now stands at $39.7 million. A $60-65 million final payday may be in order for the Matthew McConaughey flick.
After opening to toxic reviews and underwhelming numbers last weekend, Warner’s fantasy action flick Sucker Punch got hit hard in its second round. Off an alarming 68% from its opening, the $82 million Zack Snyder-directed dud dropped from second to seventh place to earn a meek $6 million from 3,033 screens to bring its ten day total to a lowly $29 million. At this rate, Warner will consider themselves lucky if the movie makes it to the $40 million mark domestically.
Along with Wimpy Kid 2, Paramount’s hit family (?) flick Rango got the wind taken out of its sails thanks to the arrival of Hop. Off 53% from last weekend, the Johnny Depp hit earned $4.5 million in eighth place to bring its five-week total to $113.7 million. The film should ride off into the sunset with $125-130 million in the bank. Universal’s sci-fi comedy Paul eased 45% to earn $4.3 million and a new three-week total of $32 million. A $40 million final gross is a possibility. Rounding out the top ten was Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles. Off 53%, the flick earned $3.5 million for a new total of $78.4 million. The battle should finish at the box office with approximately $90 million, likely enough for Sony to push forward with a sequel.
Next weekend, a quartet of new movies open in wide release: the Warner remake of 1981’s Arthur starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren, the medieval comedy Your Highness, the action flick Hanna starring Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan, and a teen surfing film called Soul Surfer which is being released by Tri-Star Pictures (remember them?).
– Shawn Fitzgerald