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Scott Mendelson

Scott Mendelson

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Weekend Box Office: Hop Scores $38m, Source Code and Insidious Open Well, Sucker Punch Crashes

Posted: 04/ 3/11 05:53 PM ET

As expected, Universal scored another solid animated win for the weekend, as Hop opened with $38.1 million. At the moment, that number puts it just ahead of the $38.07 million scored by Rango a month ago. So, until tomorrow's final numbers are released, Hop does have the top opening weekend of 2011. Regardless, this is a solid win for the occasionally beleaguered Universal, as the live-action/animation Easter comedy cost just $63 million. The film came from Illumination, the same company that gave Universal Despicable Me last summer, and the marketing department made sure everybody knew it. The sell was all about the concept, as Universal didn't even bother hyping the celebrity voices (Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, etc), instead selling the various cuddly characters (the Easter bunny himself, the Pink Berets, evil chickens, etc). No one in their right mind was expecting an Ice Age 2 ($67 million) or Despicable Me ($56 million) level opening, but the moderately-low budget animated film delivered right in its comfort zone.

While the film received pretty negative reviews, the film has two Spring Break-weeks to itself before Fox releases Rio on the 15th of April, and the picture could easily pull a third-weekend bump on April 22nd over Easter weekend. There's a reason holiday-themed films don't generally come out ON the given holiday. Point being, there is a potential for major legs here, although the film needs only to read $50.1 million to overtake Disney's Home on the Range to become April's biggest animated film ever. Hop scored an A- from Cinemascore, and it played overwhelming towards family crowds. Among over-25 year olds, 57% were parents of kids under 13. Among kids 12 and under, the film played 63% female, while females made up 63% of the over 13 kid audience. Anyway, I'm actually seeing this in several hours with my three-year old. She actually wants to see it, so hopefully she'll like it more than Gnomeo and Juliet. I'll try to offer additional comments regarding the film's quality later today or tomorrow morning (or a full review, if I have the time and inclination).

Second place went to the Summit Entertainment release Source Code (review). The shocking well-reviewed (about 88% on Rotten Tomatoes) science-fiction thriller pulled in $15.03 million. Considering that the film cost just $32 million, this also counts as a major win for Summit Entertainment, director Duncan Jones, and star Jake Gyllenhaal (with a star-turn far more suited to his talents than Prince of Persia). I found the film to be a bit dragging, with major bones to pick about the ending, but I seem to be in the critical minority (although the film earned just a B from Cinemascore). The picture had a 3x weekend multiplier, and played 63% over-30 and 54% male.Point being, this one should have solid legs presuming it can hold onto screens in the coming weeks, and it's just the kind of low-budget thriller with brains that the studios really need to make more of. So I cannot and will not begrudge its success.

Third place went to the relatively well-reviewed Insidious, which was apparently the debut picture from distributor Film District. Well, consider them 1/1, as the $1 million ghost story scored $13.5 million in its debut weekend. The PG-13 haunted house story was advertised as coming from 'the makers of Paranormal Activity (producer Oren Peli directed the first Paranormal Activity) and Saw (director James Wan helmed the original Saw)', and that boast along with a genuinely scary (if spoiler-filled) trailer was all they needed. This is a solid win for the new company, even if the film shows the usual quick-kill lack of legs prevalent in horror films.

In holdover news, Sucker Punch (review) dropped a horrible 68% in its second weekend, ending day ten with $29 million and meaning that the film will struggle to reach $40 million over all. I've said my piece about the movie and the willful misinterpretations of its subtext, so I will simply move on while again adding that this is why we can't have nice things. And, owing more to screen bleeding and age, Mars Needs Moms dropped 85% in its fourth weekend while Gnomeo and Juliet dropped 71% in its eighth weekend (a drop that will likely prevent it from reaching $100 million). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules didn't hold up all that well itself, dropping 57% in its second weekend for $10.2 million. The first picture dropped 54% in its second weekend, meaning that part II is showing the usual 'bigger opening/less legs' pattern of such sequels. Still, the $21 million film has already reached $38 million million and should reach at least $60 million.

The adult films of choice, The Lincoln Lawyer (review) and Limitless, continued to hold their own, grossing $7 million and $9.4 million in their respective third weekends for respective cums of $39 million and $55 million. Rango (review) currently sits with $114 million while Battle: Los Angeles (review) has $78 million. For what it's worth, No Strings Attached ($70.6 million) just surpassed V For Vendetta ($70.4 million) as Natalie Portman's second-biggest non-Star Wars picture behind Black Swan ($106 million). Of course, that's probably a meaningless record, because if Thor only makes it to $106 million this summer, I imagine there will be mass suicides at Marvel Studios ('make mine closed casket').

There were about 10,000 limited openings this weekend, and none of them did all that well. Trust (review), Rubber (review), and Super (review later this week) were just three of the eighteen (!) films that opened in limited release this weekend. Join us next time when Your Highness (Natalie Portman's fourth of five films in the first half of 2011) squares off against Russel Brand's remake of Arthur and director Joe Wright's Hanna. Look for a review of Your Highness as soon as someone more powerful than me breaks the embargo, and keep on reading and commenting.

Scott Mendelson

 

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